Bulgarian Foreign Minister Zaharieva Confers with Russian Counterpart Lavrov in Moscow
Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva conferred here on Monday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Both Foreign Ministers were hopeful to intensify bilateral relations in energy and trade.
At a joint news conference after the talks, Lavrov said, quoted by his Ministry in a press release, that Rosatom is ready to enter the contractor selection procedures for a resumption of the construction of the Belene N-Plant. He hopes that the Russian state corporation stands a good chance in the competitive bidding, considering that precisely it has manufactured the nuclear reactors and has designed the technology for this project.
The strategic investor selection procedure for Belene is due for completion 12 months after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union on May 22, 2019.
The Russian Foreign Minister said that he was told by his Bulgarian partners that construction work on the TurkStream second gas transmission line began on Monday and will be completed on schedule by 2020.
Lavrov said further that the sides had a "constructive and trustful" exchange of views on current international issues, paying particular attention to the situation in the Balkans, which he described as "regrettably, remaining rather complicated." "Russia opposes the treatment of the region as an arena of geopolitical confrontation and is interested in its stabilization and sustainable development," the host pointed out, specifying his country's positions on Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The two chief diplomats also touched on the situation in Ukraine after the presidential elections and confirmed the need to implement the Minsk "Complex of Measures" on the regulation of the situation in Eastern Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry press release said.
Lavrov said he had gladly and gratefully accepted Zaharieva's kind invitation to pay a return visit to Bulgaria.
At the joint news conference, Zaharieva said that Bulgaria and Russia have major prospects in the development of food processing, technologies and increase of trade.
She hopes that commercial exchanges between the two countries will grow as a result of a meeting that the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation held in Varna on September 16 and 17.
Zaharieva also expressed the hope that there will be more charter flights between Bulgaria and Russia.
At their meeting, both ministers expressed satisfaction with the invigoration of the dialogue between Sofia and Moscow.
"In our opinion, this is in the interests of our countries' peoples. Our relationship rests on traditions that go deep into history and culture. Last year we celebrated the 140th anniversary of Bulgaria's liberation as a result of the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War, and this year we marked the 140th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations," the Russian Foreign Minister said in his opening remarks at the meeting according to his Ministry.
"Thank you for accepting our invitation. This is a fine opportunity to discuss bilateral relations across the spectrum and, of course, to exchange views on the situation in Europe and in the world at large," Lavrov added.
Zaharieva is visiting Russia at Lavrov's invitation. She is the first Bulgarian foreign minister to go to Moscow since 2011.
During her visit, the Deputy PM is expected to confirm Bulgaria's invitation to President Vladimir Putin to visit Bulgaria in 2020.
Later in the day, Zaharieva will meet with members of the Bulgarian community in the Russian capital.