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US Ambassador: Streets of Bulgaria are safer

Date: 17.07.2011

James Warlick, US Ambassador in Sofia, voiced indirect support for the Bulgarian cabinet as a whole and for Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov. In a Saturday interview for Darik radio, just ahead of the opposition's no-confidence vote against the cabinet over failure in the internal policy and home affairs, the security sector and the delayed joining of the Schengen zone, the Ambassador stated Bulgaria's streets are safer, compared to two years ago. He, however, noted the expected report from Brussels on the judicial reform and the fight against organized crime and corruption will be critical, along with some positive assessment.

The diplomat pointed out that parliamentary votes and debates are healthy for democracy and it is normal to have a public discussion on the security sector, stressing the US supports the principle of the rule of law, which includes efforts to combat organized crime and have an effective judicial system. He said that Tsvetanov has undertaken significant steps in this direction, but some problems still persist. Warlick also stated that in the past he had been critical of the judicial system, but the majority of Bulgaria's judges are honest and capable. "There isn't just one solution for all problems stemming from corruption and organized crime. The police must make arrests, but also collect evidence that would hold in Court, and be careful to not violate human rights. The Prosecutor's Office must do their job; the magistrates must be honest. Bulgaria faces challenges in all these parts of the system," according to the US Ambassador.

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