Zarif meets top Bulgarian officials in Sofia

Bulgarian president: We are interested in deepening partnership with Iran

February 28, 2018

TEHRAN – Bulgarian President Roumen Radev told Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday that his country is interested in deepening partnership with Iran in areas of trade, energy and science, the Sofia Globe reported.

Zarif paid a one-day visit to Sofia on Wednesday after a two-day visit to Serbia. 

Zarif, heading an economic and political delegation, started his tour of Eastern Europe on Monday that is expected to take him to Bosnia-Herzegovina as well.

The deepening of the partnership with Iran in the economic and energy spheres is of interest to Bulgaria, South Eastern Europe and the European Union, and as president of the EU Council, Bulgaria will work to promote political dialogue to achieve concrete results of mutual interest, Radev said, according to a statement by the president’s office.

They agreed that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) arrangements and Iran’s implementation of commitments has created new opportunities for developing the EU’s relations with Tehran as well as the traditionally good ties between Bulgaria and Iran, the statement said.

The JCPOA is the official name for the nuclear deal between Iran, the European Union, Germany, and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. According the international agreement, Iran agreed to put limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for termination of sanctions.

President Roumen Radev says the deepening of the partnership with Iran in the economic and energy spheres is of interest to Bulgaria, South Eastern Europe and the European Union.

Radev added, “We are ready for dialogue to improve transport connectivity, energy diversification and increased mutual investment, tourism and scientific exchange.” 

For his part, Zarif said the development of information technology in Iran and pharmacy with the use of nanotechnology has created an opportunity for broadening the scope of potential cooperation between Iran with Bulgaria.

The organization of joint business and tourism forums to foster business contacts between the two countries and the facilitation of visa issuance were highlighted as an opportunity to boost economic and cultural exchanges, the president’s office said.

Continuation of international efforts to counteract the terrorist activity of the so-called “Islamic State” and the post-conflict reconstruction of the Middle East region were also discussed at the meeting.

Zarif noted the possibility that construction companies from Bulgaria could participate in this process, the statement said.

Kuwait recently hosted a conference on reconstruction of Iraq. 

Zarif also met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov to discuss ways to deepen economic ties and exchange views on the situation in the Middle East, Borissov’s office said.

The two officials, who held talks at the Cabinet building, noted that the intensification of the political dialogue over the past two years helped increase contacts between Bulgarian and Iranian business organizations, the statement said.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov says “the war in Syria must be stopped by the diplomats and not by the armies.”

Borissov and Zarif welcomed the holding of a Bulgarian-Iranian business forum in Sofia during the Iranian foreign minister’s one-day visit.

Borissov briefed Zarif on the road, rail, gas and digital infrastructure projects in the Balkans.

The Bulgarian prime minister emphasized that the achievement of this connectivity, which is a priority of the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU, is one of the most important conditions for the development of the states and economies in this region.

“The corridors allow for connections, trade, business, tourism between Europe and Asia,” Borisov said, while emphasizing the need for peace and stability to achieve the potential of these opportunities.

“What we need is peace. My policy is built entirely on the achievement of peace and stability,” Borissov said, according to the Sofia Globe.

He voiced concern at the growing tensions in the Middle East region and voiced hope that despite differences, Iran and other countries will find contact points for consultations to get out of the crisis, the statement said.

“The war in Syria must be stopped by the diplomats and not by the armies,” Borisov said, pointing to the humanitarian consequences of such conflicts.

Borissov and Zarif voiced support for the JCPOA, the official name for the Iran nuclear agreement, and underlined the need for its implementation by all parties, the Bulgarian government statement said.

SP/PA

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