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The Black Sea - frontline in fighting terrorism

Date: 06.11.2005

John R. Beyerle
US Ambassador to Bulgaria

The relations of the USA with the Black Sea region have a century-old history. One of the founding fathers of the American armed forces was an admiral of the Russian navy and took part in military actions in the Black Sea under the rule of Catherine the Great. Similar fate have the Americans who served in the Turkish army.

Twenty years ago I was a diplomat in Bulgaria. This was the time of the Cold War and the Black Sea was one of the dividing fronts then. This period is over. Now the objective is to build up partnership between the countries of this region. This is a positive process and the USA supports it because it will result in more stability and prosperity.

Apart from it, the Black Sea region is becoming increasingly important as a trade zone. The security of the Black Sea is of vital importance for the USA because of its geostrategic position, development of statehood in the countries of this region, its natural resources and trade capacities that will further grow. The Black Sea now - and to an even greater extent in the future - is one of the frontlines in the fight against terrorism. The challenges, however, should not be seen only through the prism of terrorism. The illegal conduits of arms, drugs and people pass through the Black Sea. The USA shows interest in the control of these processes, because if we fail doing it the consequences will be on a global scale.

From the global strategic point of view the most important is to support the development of democracy and the establishment of closer ties between this region and the European Union. I would like Bulgaria and Romania to join the EU in 2007 and then see the accession of Turkey.
Currently talks are underway between Bulgaria Romania and the USA about the use of the military bases. We'll have a possibility to take joint action during the operations and military exercises in the region. We hope that this will strengthen the security in the Black Sea region.

Presentation at the International Conference "Strengthening Black Sea Maritime Security", Sofia, the Sheraton Hotel, November 1-3.

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