n the course of the negotiations in Kyiv, Presidents of Ukraine and Bulgaria discussed European and global security in the context of the situation in Donbas, as well as Bulgarian experience on the track of reforms and its lessons for Ukraine.
“We will use this opportunity to develop our position on such important issues like European and global security, particularly after a very important decision of the EU Council on prolongation of sanction against Russia for the non-fulfilment of the Minsk agreements,” Petro Poroshenko said in the course of the negotiations in expanded format.
The President of Ukraine is ready for the political process aimed at resolving the situation in Donbas given full implementation of the Minsk agreements. The only way towards political settlement is to hold fair and transparent elections in compliance with the standards and under the ODIHR monitoring. “We can get new legal representatives of Donbas only via free elections. In a week, we will be able to solve all the issues with these representatives without Russian weaponry and influence,” Petro Poroshenko said.
The Head of State emphasized the need for the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements in the context of liberation of hostages detained both in Moscow and the occupied territories. “Russia must demonstrate willingness to fully implement the Minsk agreements,” the President stressed.
The President also drew attention to Russian annexation of Crimea, which is a cynical violation of the international law and post-war global order. “It is absolutely inadmissible in the XXI century. Position of Bulgaria, EU, hundreds of countries that supported Ukraine at the UN General Assembly resulted in complete isolation of Russia,” the Head of State said. He expressed gratitude to Bulgaria and its President for such a solidarity.
In his turn, the President of Bulgaria emphasized that “crises occur in places where the rule of law is violated”. “We believe that every nation, irrespective of its size or wealth, has a right to determine its fate independently. Nobody has a right to intervene, violate and cross borders, invade and annex territories of other countries,” Rosen Plevneliev noted. The Bulgarian President emphasized the responsibility of signatories of Budapest Memorandum and importance of compliance with their commitments.
Rosen Plevneliev expressed confidence that Ukraine has a right and opportunities to be a member of the European Union despite its neighborhood with Russia.
The President of Bulgaria assured the Ukrainian President that his country stands for compliance with the international law and the right of Ukraine to defend and preserve its sovereignty and choose its own future. “Bulgarian voice at the UN General Assembly scheduled for autumn will be in favor of Ukraine and peace,” Rosen Plevneliev said.
The President thanked Bulgaria for upholding Ukraine-NATO cooperation and providing assistance in treatment and rehabilitation of ATO warriors and organization of leisure for children of Donbas.
Particular attention was paid to the role of Bulgaria in supporting the European integration aspirations of Ukraine and promotion of the establishment of the visa-free regime between Ukraine and the EU in 2016. The President informed that at the Eastern Partnership Summit, Bulgaria supported the initiative on the introduction of the new EU strategy in respect of the countries-neighbors of the EU given individual peculiarities of these countries, first of all in respect of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova – countries that demonstrate greater aspirations regarding the EU integration.
Having noted that both countries had close relations with Russia in the past, Petro Poroshenko emphasized: “These are two different universes. Our universe is European values, freedom, democracy, modernization of the country, economy and political system”.
The parties discussed Bulgarian experience of socio-economic reforms and implementation of reforms in Ukraine. Petro Poroshenko reminded that in 1997, Bulgaria was in strenuous economic condition and had to implement reforms. Average salary equaled 10 dollars and pension amounted to 2 dollars per month. “The only way for the country in such a situation is reforms and national unity. This is what we need now,” Petro Poroshenko said noting the importance of Bulgarian experience for Ukraine.
The President emphasized the importance of transparent and efficient privatization held in Bulgaria.
The Head of State particularly noted Bulgaria’s support for energy independence of Ukraine. “When there were attempts to build gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine, our Bulgarian partners were our most decisive and pro-European supporters,” Petro Poroshenko said.
The Bulgarian President mentioned long friendly relations between the two nations and emphasized that Bulgaria will never forget this: “Our history makes us strong. We only have to restore our long-standing warm relations and move forward together”.
The Head of State noted that the President of Bulgaria made a visit to Ukraine for the first time in 12 years. “Your visit is an evidence of our friendship, trust, reliability of our relations and demonstration of our personal friendship. We’ve met 10 times since the beginning of my presidency. The intensity of our meetings is very symbolic, because relations between our countries have never been at such a high level before,” the President said noting personal contribution of President Plevneliev to that issue.