War of words between Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister and President continues

War of words between Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister and President continues

The ping-pong match between Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva and its President Roumen Radev over Venezuela and other foreign policy issues continued on February 8.

The tussle began when Zaharieva criticised Radev over his behaviour regarding the Venezuela issue and his delay in signing nominations of ambassadors. Radev hit back by saying that the Bulgarian government had no policy of its own on Venezuela, and accusing the government of failing to consult him on issues such as the neighbouring former Yugoslav republic’s accession to Nato, among other things.

Speaking two days after Bulgaria’s Cabinet formally approved the country’s support for Juan Guaidó in his capacity as interim President of Venezuela, aligning itself with the majority of other European Union countries in doing so.

Zaharieva, speaking to reporters in the National Assembly building, rejected Radev’s claim that Bulgaria did not have its own policy on Venezuela.

Venezuela, she said, had been discussed at several meetings of EU foreign ministers and several times, Bulgaria had made a declaration on behalf of all the member states and had been very actively involved in this process.

Zaharieva said that policy positions of the government were very often sent to the administration of the President.

She rejected the claim that “someone wrote something for us and we just rewrote it”.

“On the part of the government, we think that it is good that Bulgaria speaks with one voice…we often send positions (to the Presidency) that we are expressing on different topics in advance,” Zaharieva said.

“The colleagues from the Presidency do not read them. I understand that he seems to be dissatisfied with this, but I believe that co-ordination efforts should continue. If he does not want to, we can stop,” she said.

Zaharieva also rejected Radev’s statement that he had not been sought out about Bulgaria’s good-neighbourliness treaty with Skopje.

“I say that the treaty about Macedonia was sent before the Cabinet meeting, although we are a parliamentary republic and the Parliament ratified these treaties by law, that is, at the end of the process. I personally was there with Ambassador Mirchev to explain it, so this is just not true,” she said.

According to Bulgaria’s constitution, foreign policy is implemented by the Cabinet, Zaharieva said. Bulgaria had sent the draft of the good-neighbourliness treaty with the Republic of Macedonia to the Presidency, even though the government was not required to get the Presidency’s agreement, she said./IBNA