site.btaUPDATED Bulgarian President Thanks Portuguese Counterpart for Lisbon's Readiness to Join Efforts for Strengthening NATO's Eastern Flank
President Rumen Radev thanked his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for Lisbon's readiness to join the efforts for strengthening NATO's eastern flank with a military contingent. The matter was discussed by the two state leaders in Porto on the second day of Radev's state visit to Portugal April 11-13. "It is very important in order to show our determination and our unity is standing up for freedom, democracy and our values," the Bulgarian President said after the meeting.
He said that he and his host shared a concern "over the course of the fratricidal and brutal war in Ukraine". "We jointly call for ending the war as soon as possible and finding a way to restore peace," said Radev.
He also urged holding the soonest possible a debate on Europe's future security architecture, and expressed concern over the secondary consequences from the hostilities, including possible food shortage.
Asked to comment suspicions about use of chemical weapons in Mariupol, Radev said that it is a war crime. "We call for holding fast an independent international investigation. We have to find the truth and everybody who is responsible for these barbaric actions should be punished promptly. If we don't do this, the war will continue. The more civilian victims it takes, the harder it will be to reestablish peace."
Radev said that it is a delicate issue whether or not NATO should interfere in the military conflict. "We have heard clear statements by the Alliance Secretary General, by President Biden and other state leaders that a NATO interference in Ukraine poses a risk for a Third World War. The big concern is that such a war could escalate into a nuclear conflict," he said.
The Bulgarian President thanked President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for his country's support for Bulgaria's accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Schengen agreement, as well as for the bilateral cooperation in economy, education, research and culture.
Earlier on Tuesday, President Radev was in the Porto City Hall by Mayor Rui Moreira, who presented him with the keys to the city. In his remarks in the City Hall, President Radev spoke about the need to stay united. "The relations and friendship between Bulgaria and Portugal are deeply symbolic. If two countries situated at the two ends of Europe can cooperate and be friends, or think in the same terms about the future of Europe,e then the entire European family can do that," he said.
The two countries' delegations held plenary talks.
Radev will also travel to Lisbon where he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Antonio Costa and the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Augusto Santos Silva. He will also confer with members of the local Bulgarian community.
This is President Radev's second visit to Portugal.