Bulgarian, Palestinian presidents meet on Mideast peace, bilateral ties

Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov said here on Tuesday that his country supports the establishing of an independent Palestinian state, and will continue to keep good relations with Israel.

“I had once again the opportunity to emphasize that fair and lasting solution of the Middle East peace process goes through the establishing of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, ” Parvanov told a joint press conference after talks with visiting President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas.

Meanwhile, Parvanov said Bulgaria traditionally keeps good relations with Israel and will continue to sustain this dialogue.

Abbas said that the ties between Bulgaria and Israel are ” something natural” because all the countries in the world keep relations with Israel as they do the same with Palestine and Arab states. Maintaining balanced relations with Palestine and the Arab States on one hand, and with Israel on the other hand can play an important role in resolving political problems in the Middle East, said Abbas, who is paying a two-day visit to Bulgaria.

Regarding the indirect proximity talks between Palestine and Israel launched by U.S. peace envoy George Mitchell, Parvanov expressed his belief that the results of the new round of these talks will be positive.

The two presidents also discussed the opportunities for further development of the bilateral ties between Bulgaria and Palestine.

Establishment of an intergovernmental commission, participation of Bulgarian construction companies in large infrastructure projects in Palestine and Palestinian students to study in Bulgarian universities were some of possible next steps mentioned by Parvanov and Abbas.

It was the third official meeting between Abbas and Parvanov since 2007.

After the meeting with Parvanov, Abbas had on Tuesday a meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. On Wednesday he will give a public speech at the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, and will meet the Bulgarian Parliament Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva.

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