Bulgarian President Rumen Radev conferred with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Bocharov Ruchey Residence here on Tuesday. "The purpose of my visit is to restart political dialogue at the summit level because this dialogue is important for the success of cooperation in all areas of shared interest," the Bulgarian head of State said. He expects a strategic review of bilateral relations.
Radev said that the Bulgarian and the Russian peoples share the celebration of May 24 as the Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture and of Slav Letters and the observance of the 140th anniversary of Bulgaria's Liberation and the Russo-Turkish War thanks to which Bulgaria re-emerged on the map of Europe. "That is why the two countries have a special relationship which is based not only on purely political and economic interests but on deeply rooted historical, spiritual, cultural and linguistic ties between our peoples. This gives us a number of advantages and makes our relations more natural and easier," the Bulgarian President said. "At the same time, we remain open, we continue to raise candidly all issues on which we have differences and outstanding questions," he added, pointing out that "in addition to registering the strong traditions and the huge existing potential, we also have to justify the need of tangible action."
The guest noted the ample shared interests in trade, the economy, energy, education and culture. "I will be glad if we have a candid and in-depth dialogue today to provide a basis and give our governments a positive impetus to work in this direction," Radev said. At the start of the meeting, he congratulated Putin on his re-election and wished him a successful term in office.
The host welcomed Radev to Russia and noted that the visit ties in with the 140th anniversary of Bulgaria's Liberation as a result of the Russo-Turkish War. "This is one of the most important dates in our shared history," Putin added. He noted that bilateral relations are not limited to that and there are a lot of things that bring the two countries together. The Russian leader noted the forthcoming celebration of the Day of Slav Letters on May 24 and added that Radev attended cultural events in Moscow and that Bulgaria will host Russian cultural events this coming autumn.
Putin said that he will not discuss economic issues at the beginning. He only noted that two-way trade grew last year, which is gladdening but, as he put it, "it is possible to do better". The Russian President added that his country's leaders will have the pleasure to welcome the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in Moscow in a few days and the dialogue will continue with him.
"Dnevnik" quotes diplomatic sources as saying that Borissov's visit will most probably take place on May 30 - June 1.
Following his meeting with the Russian President, President Radev told a news briefing that he had renewed his invitation to Putin to visit Bulgaria.
The guest said that his visit is intended above all to resume dialogue at the highest political level and to restore confidence. "It is difficult to talk of confidence after the abandonment of three major projects, in conditions of sanctions and restrictive regimes, as well as after short-sighted political talking in recent years," he added.
"We made a strategic review of our relations. There is a huge potential in various spheres of the economy, trade, energy, tourism, education and science, and transport," the Bulgarian President commented.
"I am glad that my visit, among other factors, gives a positive impetus to the Bulgarian Government, which has adopted a more serious approach to Bulgarian-Russian relations. There is also talk of a revival of some of the suspended projects," Radev said, recalling that Prime Minister Borissov, too, will visit Russia soon.
Important international security issues were also on the agenda of Tuesday's talks. The guest assured his Russian counterpart that Bulgaria is interested in working for dialogue and understanding.
At the talks in Sochi, Bulgaria was represented by the President's Chief of Cabinet Ivo Hristov, Secretary General Dimiter Stoyanov and Foreign Policy Secretary Atanas Krastin. The Russian participants included Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, Energy Minister Alexander Novak, and Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushkov.
At the Bulgarian Embassy in Moscow on Monday evening, Radev met with Bulgarian and Russian cultural figures and members of the Bulgarian community in the Russian capital. He said that he does not regard as normal a ten-year hiatus in the relations at the highest political level between the two countries that are linked by deep-going historical, cultural and spiritual ties. Greeting his audience on May 24, the Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture and of Slav Letters, the President said: "The very fact there is such a holiday in the Bulgarian calendar demonstrates the advanced civilization and the values that our people have achieved and preserved down the ages."
Also on Monday evening, Radev and his wife attended a performance of Wagner's "Siegfried", staged at the Bolshoi Theatre by the Sofia Opera and Ballet as part of the company's successful tour of the world-famous venue.