site.btaForeign Minister Milkov: NATO Allies Determined to Provide Maximum Assistance to Ukraine
All NATO allies have expressed firm determination that Ukraine should be provided with as much assistance as possible, which should be effective, timely, and aimed at overcoming the various crises engulfing that country, caretaker Foreign Minister Nikolay Milkov said in a BTA interview on the second day of the meeting of foreign ministers of the Alliance's member states, which is taking place in the Romanian capital of Bucharest.
"We are talking not only about the military aspects, but also about the energy crisis, the humanitarian crisis. In this sense, Bulgaria has done well. Things that we provided before - winter clothes, equipment, medical kits - have turned out to be very necessary for Ukraine now. I am satisfied with the fact that Bulgaria is meeting the expectations, the needs that Ukraine has," he added.
Minister Milkov also summarised what topics were discussed during the meeting of the leading diplomats of the Alliance members, namely the role of China, a number of threats related to terrorism, the food crisis, the disruption of supply chains, which all create conditions for security risks in relation to countries, especially from the third world.
"In Bulgaria, the government is making huge efforts to contain the refugee crisis. All migrant crises, and in particular the flow coming from Ukraine. We provided very good conditions for Ukrainian refugees right from the beginning. We are now at the stage where we are making efforts to integrate them into society, not to treat them entirely as refugees who are only using benefits and staying in state-provided accommodation, but as people who are being given real living and working conditions. I am optimistic about Bulgaria's readiness to cope with such a migration wave. This is one of Bulgaria’s criteria for Schengen membership in the future and is being closely monitored by our partners," Minister Milkov said about the migration crisis and the possible threat of a new refugee wave from Ukraine.
Minister Milkov pointed out that Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Moldova also participated in the last session of the foreign ministers' talks. "These are countries with which we have similar views about what is happening in Europe. [...] They are very important partners for Bulgaria because they are in our neighbourhood and their security is tied to our own security to a very large extent," he said.
Commenting the strategic role of the Black Sea, Bulgaria's top diplomat said: "We have renewed our desire for Varna to host a maritime surveillance centre for the Black Sea, but this is not an issue that is being decided now. Anyway, we have the support of some allies, Romania for example."
"The Schengen issue is complicated. I would not presume to comment on it at the moment, lest we send the wrong signals one way or the other. Now it is up to us to provide as much information as possible to our partners and allow them to make an informed decision in our interest," Minister Milkov said on the topic of Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen. "I don't think this option is very realistic, although it can never be ruled out," he added on the option for Bulgaria and Romania to be separated for Schengen entry.
The Minister also commented on Bulgaria’s relations with the Republic of North Macedonia. "I hope that these tensions, which are ultimately internal, will gradually be resolved and they should be resolved in such a way as to open the way for the Republic of North Macedonia to EU membership. The problem is with them, but we have no interest in deepening this problem, in any case", he said.