site.btaVice President Iotova Takes Part in Meeting of B9 Countries in Bratislava
Vice President Iliana Iotova took part in a meeting of the countries of the format for political dialogue B9 in Bratislava, the President’s press office said on Tuesday. The event was also attended by the heads of State of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Czechia and Poland, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. They discussed preparations for the Alliance's July summit in Vilnius.
The main topic of the discussion was the war in Ukraine. Iotova condemned Russia's war against Ukraine and called for the immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from the sovereign territory of the Ukrainian state. "What should be our approach to Ukraine? Continued support for Ukraine, providing a clear prospect for potential NATO membership when conditions allow it, and the creation of a NATO-Ukraine council," the VP said.
Topics such as building the defence capabilities of the Eastern flank from the Baltic to the Black Sea, defence spending, the Alliance's "Open Doors" policy, preparedness and countering hybrid threats that undermine the unity of the Alliance and its vulnerable partners were also discussed at the meeting.
According to Iotova, the growing challenges and threats require a comprehensive strategy for the Black Sea region. She stressed the need for a common approach towards the Western Balkan countries, which are also subject to destabilizing actions. "We must continue to support partners at risk in the Black Sea region and the Western Balkans - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova," Iotova pointed out.
The Vice President underlined Bulgaria's commitment to spending 2% of GDP on defence.
Iotova expressed confidence that Sweden's membership in NATO will strengthen the Alliance's defence capabilities and will contribute significantly to security in the Euro-Atlantic area. "I expect that Sweden will soon become the 32nd member of NATO and participate in the Vilnius summit in July,” she stated.
A declaration of the B9 countries was adopted at the Bratislava meeting.