Bulgarian Foreign Minister Visits Ukraine, Confers with PM, Parliament Speaker

September 18 (BTA) - Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, who is paying an official
visit to Ukraine, conferred here on Friday with Ukrainian Prime
Minister Denys Shmyhal, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Chairman
Dmytro Razumkov, Ukrainian People's Deputies and two deputy
prime ministers, Zaharieva' Ministry said in a press release.

During the meeting, Shmyhal personally committed to the speedy
opening of a state secondary Bulgarian school in Odessa. In
exchange, Sofia will provide an immovable property for the
setting up of a Ukrainian cultural centre in the Bulgarian

"In the person of Bulgaria, your country has one of its most
sincere friends in the EU and NATO," the guest assured the Prime
 Minister, conveying to him special greetings from his Bulgarian
 counterpart Boyko Borissov and extending to him an invitation
to visit Bulgaria, which Shmyhal accepted right away.

The two discussed a broad range of issues, including the
situation of the Bulgarian community in Ukraine and teaching
Bulgarian, EU and NATO integration processes, trade and economic
 contacts, and energy diversification.

Zaharieva directly raised the question about the opening of a
state secondary Bulgarian school in Odessa, on which Bulgaria
has been insisted for several years now. The Prime Minister
promised to instruct personally his education minister to speed
up the procedure. At Zaharieva's request, the Ukrainian
Government will also take steps for the protection of Bulgarian
philology as a course of studies at the Ukrainian universities.
The rehabilitation of the Odessa-Bolhrad-Reni road was also on
the agenda.

The sides discussed the measures to combat the COVID-19

"When protective clothing was most badly needed, we managed to
send 500 reusable protective suits for your doctors," the
Foreign Minister said. She was thanked for the prompt
pandemic-control aid from both Bulgaria and the EU.

Zaharieva and Shmyhal also considered EU-Ukraine relations in
the context of the Association Council due next month. "It is
time to plan the future of the Eastern Partnership because the
'more for more' principle should not just paid lip service," the
 chief Bulgarian diplomat said.

The two were adamant that the Joint Intergovernmental Commission
 for Economic Cooperation, which has not been in session for 10
years, must meet next year and a business forum must be
organized in Sofia.

Razumkov, together with a group of Ukrainian MPs, received
Zaharieva. The Verkhovna Rada Chairman said: "We highly
appreciate your country's support for our territorial integrity
and your long-standing support both bilaterally and
internationally. The coronavirus has dramatically changed our
work, but I hope that we will be able to resume more vigorous
parliamentary cooperation shortly. Our two countries have a very
 good relationship."

"There is an age-old friendship between Bulgaria and Ukraine,
and this is not an overstatement: our contacts date back to the
First Bulgarian Empire. Ukraine is home to the largest Bulgarian
 historical community abroad. I am grateful to the Verkhovna
Rada for adopting an administrative decree which not only kept
but enlarged the Bolhrad Raion," the Bulgarian Deputy PM said in

She was referring to a Verkhovna Rada decree adopted on July 17,
 2020 which preserved the Bolhrad Raion as a separate
administrative division, with Bolhrad as its administrative
centre, and incorporated into it the Tarutyne and Artsyz raions
where the Bulgarian community is predominant. The enlarged
Bolhrad Raion has nearly 74,000 Bulgarian residents. The largest
 Bulgarian community in Ukraine was thus brought together in a
single administrative division consisting of 10 municipalities.

Zaharieva also conferred with two Verkhovna Rada members of
Bulgarian descent, Tetiana Plachkova and Oleksandr Kopylenko.

At the end of her visit to Kyiv, Zaharieva laid flowers at the
monument of Bulgarian freedom fighter Captain Petko Voyvoda
(1844-1990), who spent a part of his life in the city. RY/LG


Source: Kyiv