Bulgarian FM: Relations between Bulgaria and Russia are still strong

Relations between Bulgaria and Russia are excellent, based on extensive mutual co-operation, and not exclusively on one particular energy project, according to Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov, speaking after his regular Cabinet meeting on June 16 2010.

Mladenov was referring to last week’s decision, taken by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, to end the interminable uncertainty surrounding the Bourgas-Alexandoupouli gas pipeline.

Borissov told European Union ambassadors on June 11 2010 that Bulgaria had decided to permanently pull out of the Bourgas-Alexandropoulis gas pipeline project, and shelve indefinitely its Belene nuclear project.

“I think engagement between Bulgaria and Russia is very good at the moment,” Mladenov said.

Speculation had circulated around Bulgarian media outlets, following the decision to withdraw from the project, that the real loser in the deal would be Greece. Reports emerged that Bulgaria and Russia wanted nothing to do with the pipeline and were waiting to see who would back out first.

Mladenov quickly dismissed suggestions that relations between Bulgaria and Russia would grow cold following Bulgaria’s decision to leave the project.

“We have a wide scope of relations, and there is a lot of potential that could benefit the Bulgarian and Russian people in the future,” said Mladenov, without elaborating.

The decision to scrap the construction of the Bourgas-Alexandroupoulis pipeline was made because of staunch resistance from residents of the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Bourgas and surrounding region, according to Borissov.

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