Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bilateral Cooperation: AJC Welcomes Expanding Bulgaria, Israel Security Cooperation

SOURCE American Jewish Committee

AJC welcomed two new agreements between Bulgaria and Israel, expanding their defense and security cooperation. The accords were signed in Tel Aviv by Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Minister Angelov said the two agreements, in addition to their economic and defense benefits, also "bring a political message – Bulgaria and Israel are a step closer towards stronger cooperation and a strategic dialogue."

One of the accords provides for joint army training. The other is a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the military industry.

"We salute these accords as a reaffirmation of the mutually beneficial ties Bulgaria and Israel share," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Since emerging as a free nation in the post-Soviet era, Bulgaria has become a valued friend and partner of Israel, as well as the United States."

AJC, a leading global advocacy organization, has maintained close relations with Bulgaria, including its active Jewish community, for more than two decades.

Harris was honored by Bulgaria's president, Georgi Parvanov, in a formal ceremony in 2010, for his key role in deepening Bulgaria's ties to the United States and strengthening transatlantic relations, which included supporting Bulgaria's successful bids for NATO membership and "graduation" from the Cold War-era Jackson-Vanik Amendment. Numerous AJC delegations have visited Sofia since 1990.

"The friendship between Bulgaria and the American Jewish Committee has stood the test of time," Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov told an audience of more than 1,600 at the AJC Global Forum in Washington last April, where he received a standing ovation. "Thank you for consistently promoting the friendship between our nations and helping forge a strong alliance between Bulgaria and the United States."