Bulgarian, Chinese officials prepare for 16+1 CEE-China summit in Sofia in July 2018

Bulgarian, Chinese officials prepare for 16+1 CEE-China summit in Sofia in July 2018

The national co-ordinators for the China-Central and Eastern Europe Co-operation Initiative, known as the 16+1, have held talks at the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry ahead of the summit to be hosted by Bulgaria in early July 2018.

The meeting covered important political, co-ordination and preparatory aspects of Bulgaria’s hosting of the seventh 16+1 summit, the Foreign Ministry said.

Those at the meeting included Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Georg Georgiev, China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Chao and representatives of the countries taking part in the initiative, as well as observers from other countries and organisations.

Georgiev said that Bulgaria was a strong supporter of the 16+1 initiative. Since its first meeting in Warsaw in 2012, the initiative had become an international platform for discussing and implementing ideas for co-operation, he said.

He said that the Sofia summit would assess both the achievements of the previous period and to outline the new prospects for future development.

Georgiev also expressed hope of attracting more significant Chinese investments in Bulgaria in the areas of infrastructure, transport, agriculture, health and the environment.

“The Bulgarian government will be glad to welcome strategic Chinese enterprises and investment partners who have serious and long-term intentions to take advantage of the excellent investment climate in our country,” Georgiev said.

He said that the topic of the forthcoming meeting in Sofia – “Deepening open and pragmatic cooperation for inclusive prosperity” reflects the general willingness of the participating countries to use existing opportunities to strengthen co-operation and achieve practical results for the benefit of all .

China’s Deputy Foreign Minister said that Bulgaria had made a significant contribution to the China-Central and Eastern European Cooperation Initiative.

“I hope and believe that your country will play an important role in this platform. Our proposal is to focus on the emergence of pragmatic ties to achieve concrete results,” Wang said.

Georgiev and Wang also held face-to-face talks, reviewing bilateral relations and discussing details of the organisation of the summit, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement.

“We want to focus our efforts on achieving real practical results The projects we have proposed – the construction of the Hemus and Black Sea motorways and the reconstruction of the Varna-Rousse railway line, are of great importance not only for the 16 + 1 Initiative but for the entire region, I am sure you realize that the goals set can best be achieved when they are done for the benefit of the citizens,” Georgiev said.

He said that Bulgaria has very good traditions in agriculture, giving as an example the cultivation of the Bulgarian oil-bearing rose.

“The government is making a lot of effort to develop our traditional sectors, and we hope that the process of allowing more of our agricultural commodities to be exported to the Chinese market will be accelerated,” he said.

Georgiev said that the deepening of co-operation in high technology will be in the interest of both countries. He also noted the very good climate for the development of foreign companies in Bulgaria in recent years.

Wang said: “We have to work to raise our bilateral relations to a higher level at the level of strategic partnership, and we will encourage Chinese firms and investors to develop their business here”.

The two deputy ministers agreed that the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang to Sofia for the Seventh Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the 16 + 1 Initiative is a great opportunity to make a comprehensive overview of the relationship and outline future prospects for development…. / IBNA

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