Bulgarian President Plevneliev Condoles with Russian Counterpart Putin over Aircraft Crash

    Sofia, December 25 (BTA) – President Rosen Plevneliev Sunday sent condolences to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in connection with the crash of a Russian military plane carrying 92 people which fell into the Black Sea near Sochi, killing everyone on board, Plevneliev’s press secretariat said. More…

  • EBRD Finances Krumovgrad Gold-Silver Mine in Bulgaria

    London, December 24 (BTA) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is investing 43.7 million Canadian dollars (approximately 32.7 million U.S. dollars) in the development of the Krumovgrad gold and silver mining project in south-eastern Bulgaria to promote the highest industry standards, the Bank said in a press release.More…

  • EC Approves EUR 48.2 Mln in Emergency Funding to Bulgaria in Support of Border Management

    Brussels, December 23 (BTA) – The European Commission on Friday allocated an additional 48.2 million euro in emergency funding to Bulgaria under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF). More…

  • INTERVIEW/Romania’s Ambassador to UN: Here it is hard to play differently than with cards on table; transparency is essential

    The presence of a country, Romania included, in the UN Security Council provides visibility and enhances the capacity of a country of radiating influence in its adjacent geographic area, Romania’s Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ion Jinga, told AGERPRES in an interview.

    According to the Ambassador, for a state to be elected non-permanent member in the Security Council, a well coagulated strategy, a united team and much transparency are needed.

    Ion Jinga showed that Romania is a candidate for a position of non-permanent member in the Security Council, for a two-year mandate, in the period 2020-2021, with elections in 2019, most likely in June 2019.

    Jinga also explained that the migration issue must be dealt with at the source: “In order not to have refugees, we must solve the conflict problem in the countries where the refugees come from, solve the development problem, and here we automatically hit the poverty issue.”

    AGERPRES: You have been elected co-chair of the intergovernmental negotiation process on the reform of the Security Council. What does this position mean for Romania and for the UN?

    Ion Jinga: We are talking about a process that began in 1992, when the first more serious talks emerged concerning the need for adjustment, the Security Council reform, in terms of working methods, but, in the first place, in terms of its numeric increase. There was even a resolution around 1993, there was a resolution draft, which didn’t manage to pass for reasons related to different positions, sometimes diverging, of the member states. The matter became topical again in 1998, then in 2005 there was another impetus with a few series of projects in this respect.

    In short, it is a project going on for about 25 years. At some point an open working group was created to think the reform of the Security Council, a conclusion was reached subsequently and a resolution of the UN General Assembly was adopted in this respect, on the creation of a forum devoted to negotiating the Security Council reform. This forum is called “The intergovernmental negotiations process on the Security Council reform” and is headed by one or two representatives appointed by the UN General Assembly President.

    Furthermore, many times, the one directly running this process was the General Assembly President himself. This year, for the 71st session of the General Assembly, the President decided to appoint two co-chairs. These appointments are made having persons in mind, they are not based on geographic location, or the regional balance, there are people whom the General Assembly President chooses because he believes the persons in question could contribute to the advance of the process.

    In the current situation, there are Romania’s Ambassador and Tunisia’s Ambassador, therefore two co-chairs coming from two different geographic and culture areas, which ensures a good complementarity and I believe that at the moment the process is in a stage of going from discussions, from position presentation, to something more concrete.

    In its current form, the Security Council was conceived 71 years ago, when the UN was established and since then it underwent one single modification or major reform, in 1965, when the number of non-permanent members increased from 6 to 10, and the number of permanent members remained unchanged.

    Currently we have 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent members, therefore a Security Council with 15 members. Well, in 1945 when the UN was created, it numbered 50 members. Today, we are talking about 193, we are talking about other geopolitical realities and there is a considerable pressure for adjustment, for adaptation, as there are also certain reserves.

    Especially because we have to do with a wide variety of positions and interests which do not only regards the positioning of the great players, of the global players if you wish, but also of the various groups of interest, regional groups. It is a highly complex process.

    In the end, there is a series of positions which, at first glance, seem irreconcilable, each one speaks of the desire to advance the process, but when we reach the stage of a compromise option, there is the trend of each one saying they have already made compromises and that it is the others’ turn. The role of the two co-chairs now would be to find an innovative method, a formula accommodating the great interests.

    I have told you a very tough reality. There are talks, there are negotiations having lasted for a very long time. Now we are in the stage of consultations with the main groups, with the main players. And, little by little, we are trying to reveal what would unite us and set us at the same table, so we can leave aside the divergence points.

    It is not easy at all, there are great expectations, there are high pressures, but there are pressures on various trends. What we are trying to do now is identify a possible road map, an action plan for the next eight months until the end of July 2017 and, to the extent to which the discussions and negotiations in the plenary sitting allow it, to come up with a possible concrete solution, allowing the continuation of the process. However, I don’t think we can speak of completing this process within one year, after it has dragged on for 25 years.

    There is, still, a great expectation horizon and, I would say that through this position occupied by Romania’s Representative to the UN, in New York, we bring a plus of visibility, of weight specific to Romania inside the United Nations, a plus of notoriety, which can at some point translate to support, alliances, in formulas allowing the further consolidation of Romania’s presence at the UN.

    AGERPRES: Is there an unanimously accepted direction in respect to the Security Council reform?

    Ion Jinga: There are five major topics at present on the agenda of these negotiations. We are going from the relation between the Security Council and the General Assembly, the Security Council dimension and working methods, going through the geographic representation in the Security Council, the member categories, we are talking about permanent and non-permanent members and the veto right. Of course the most contentious are those related to the member categories and the veto right, which the five permanent members have now.

    Some progress was made in respect to the cooperation between the Security Council and the General Assembly, a few aspects were approached in terms of the Security Council working methods, and somehow its possible dimension. It is a breadth accepted by somewhere around 21 and 26-27 members.

    Also left to be seen is which is the feasible formula, from a practical viewpoint. There is a high number of countries, over 80, which have pronounced in favour of including the fact that non-permanent members, those who are elected for two years, should exercise at least once during a two-year mandate the presidency of the Security Council.

    This presidency changes each month, which means that in 24 months, in two years, each non-permanent member should hold this highly prestigious position once. Here we reach right away the numeric dimension of the Security Council. How many members would allow this rotation to be done? What stratagems or intermediary formulas could be identified?

    When we reach the veto right, which is probably the most sensitive side of this process, there are countries that say the veto right should be dropped for everyone. I wouldn’t comment on how feasible such an alternative is.

    Others say that, if the veto right is not dropped, then the new permanent members should also have the veto right, and here we talk if new permanent members are to be admitted, how many and, if an enlargement of the veto right is reached, how many countries will have the veto right, because we imagine how a Security Council would look like with 10-12 countries having the veto right.

    There are other trends talking about the voluntary limitation of the veto right in the context in which the Security Council agenda includes matters regarding genocide, atrocities, mass crimes.

    At the same time, if we speak of the member categories, there is a strong trend of supporting the enlargement of the Security Council, with both member categories, permanent and non-permanent.

    But there are others who say “no, democratic would be to elect members in the Security Council, not only non-permanent members.” There is also an intermediary option, which speaks of a transition period, with extended mandates, which can be from four to eight years, with the re-election option. All alternatives have tackled keeping or dropping the veto right.

    Then there are talks on observing a regional balance. For instance, Africa has no permanent member. Africa is a continent with 54 countries and for the entire African continent there are only three non-permanent members in the Security Council. Here, in the African continent, we include the Arab countries. Our African friends speak of historic injustice, because they haven’t received a higher representation in the Security Council. It is left to be seen to what extent this is accepted on the level of all the 193 countries.

    On the other hand, the affiliation to the Security Council entails in the first place not rights, but obligations. It is the capacity of the respective countries to contribute to promoting peace and security on a global level. This is the role of the Security Council. It is the guarantor of peace and security. The member countries in the Security Council are countries capable to secure peace, not only on their territory, but also in adjacent areas and on a global level. And the permanent members are, at the same time, great contributors to the United Nations budget, in terms of assistance for development, in the peace keeping missions.

    We are talking about an extremely complex process, where each elements, each detail can be essential and where the balance is the key word.

    I told you all this to clarify why this process is so important and why it can be important for Romania too. Beyond visibility, beyond the standing such a position can confer you, in the end, for instance if in an expanded formula of the Security Council, the Eastern European Group, which Romania is also part of, received an additional seat as non-permanent member, the period in which Romania and other countries in its geographical group could accede as non-permanent member would be reduced to half. The presence of a country in the Security Council represents a pinnacle, a top achievement in the respective country’s foreign policy.

    AGERPRES: So Romania should set itself as a goal participating in the Security Council?

    Ion Jinga: As a co-chair, I cannot represent Romania’s position, my role is that of an honest broker, a person capable to build consensus. For this you need the trust of the member countries and you cannot win it if you promote the national interest. We are talking about a construction, not a particular interest.

    Returning to your question, I think that the presence of a country, Romania included, in the Security Council, provides visibility, specific global weight, it provides the ability to radiate influence in the contiguous geographic area and beyond. To a country like Romania, it provides for instance a strengthened profile inside the European Union, it would raise our prestige, our influence in the geographic area we belong to or we are a neighbor to. I think not only about the EU but also about the Balkan region, the extended Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. On the other hand, I think of countries where Romania is present in peacekeeping missions.

    And Romania candidates for non-permanent membership of the Security Council for a two-year term between 2020-2021, with elections due in 2019, most likely in June 2019.

    AGERPRES: Practically, almost concomitantly with the time when Romania will hold the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

    Ion Jinga: Yes, you remarked this correctly. Romania will hold the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2019. Our term at the helm of the EU Council ends at the end of June. In the auspicious event that Romania gets this seat of non-permanent member of the Security Council, the moment when Romania’s term at the Presidency of the Council of the EU comes to end would coincide with elections to the Security Council. Just imagine what the seamless splicing together of a six-month term at European level with a two-year term at global level would mean for Romania and Romanian diplomacy. I think this would place Romania on an orbit of international influence with reverberations that could span a decade afterwards. More…


  • Loredana Dinu, athlete of the year 2016 by CS Dinamo

    Loredana Dinu, a member of the female fencing team of Romania, an Olympic champion in Rio de Janeiro OG 2016 and a bronze medalist at the European Championships, was designated athlete of the year 2016 by the Dinamo Bucharest Sports Club (CS Dinamo) in a gala that took place at the Internal Affairs Ministry (MAI)’s Hqs.

    Granted also during the event were the following awards:

    The year’s laureates category — Horia Tecau (tennis), Florin Mergea (tennis), Madalina Beres (rowing), Andreea Boghian (rowing), Adelina Bogus (rowing), Mihaela Petrila (rowing), Ioana Strungaru (rowing), Tiberiu Dolniceanu (fencing), Corina Caprioriu (judo), Alin Alexuc (wrestling), Andrei Muntean (gymnastics), Cristina Iovu (weightlifting), Daniel Natea (judo), Monica Ungureanu (judo).

    The best section at non-Olympic sports — martial arts section

    The best team of 2016 — the male handball team

    The best coach: Mircea Roman (rowing)

    The best athlete at youth: Viviana Bejenariu (rowing)

    The best athlete at juniors: Andrei Nicolae (canoeing)

    The club also granted three plaques of honour for the support given to fulfilling the club’s performance (93 medals grabbed in 2016) to the COSR (Romanian Sports and Olympic Committee) chair, Mihai Covaliu, to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Elisabeta Lipa and to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Ioan Dragos Tudorache.

    Minister Tudorache said he is proud of the results of the Dinamo athletes, although before taking over his mandate he was a fan of another club.

    “In the last three months, I felt I should become a Dinamo fan, to dye myself in red. And today I’m proud and happy to have the opportunity to congratulate these athletes for their results this year,” said Tudorache. More…

  • President Plevneliev Receives Montenegro’s Highest State Honour

    Sofia, December 20 (BTA) – President Rosen Plevneliev received the highest state honour of Montenegro, the Order of Montenegro with Ribbon, his press secretariat said. He made a working visit to that country at the invitation of President Filip Vujanovic on Tuesday.

    The order was conferred on Plevneliev in recognition of his consistent efforts and Bulgaria’s staunch support for Montenegro’s European and Euro-Atlantic orientation.

    Plevneliev said Bulgaria sets a high priority on its relations with Montenegro. “We share common European values, we believe that our region should be even better connected, and we are working towards this goal,” he said, expressing a hope that Montenegro would soon be welcomed as a full member of the European family. More…


  • Foreign Ministry strongly condemns assassination of Russian Ambassador

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly assassination of the Russian Ambassador in Ankara, Andrey Gennadyevich Karlov, and expresses its sincere sympathy to the Russian people.

    `Such acts of blunt violence are despicable, no matter where they come from. They, also, cause indignation when such acts target diplomats, whose mission, by definition, is to promote dialogue and cultivate the conditions for peace` the Foreign Ministry says in a statement.

    It expresses its heartfelt condolences to his family, the Government of the Russian Federation and the Russian diplomatic community.

    CNA/AAR/GCH 2016

  • UPDATED Spokesperson Dobrovolschi: President Iohannis to consult Wednesday with PSD, PNL, USR, UDMR; Thursday -ALDE, PMP and minorities

    President Klaus Iohannis will have consultations on Wednesday with representatives of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the National Liberal Party (PNL), the Save Romania Union (USR) and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), and on Thursday with representatives of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), the People’s Movement Party (PMP) and the national minorities group of Parliament, President’s Spokesperson Madalina Dobrovolschi announced.

    According to her, the consultations on Wednesday with the parliamentary political formations will start at 11:00 hrs with the PSD delegation, the head of state going to meet with representatives of the PNL starting 12:30 hrs, with the USR representatives starting 14:00 hrs and with the ones of the UDMR starting 15:00 hrs.

    The consultations will continue on Thursday, starting 11:00 hrs, when at Cotroceni the ALDE delegation is expected, followed by the PMP representatives at 12:00 hrs and starting 13:00 hrs — the delegation of the national minorities group.

    “The parties represented in Parliament are invited to the Cotroceni Palace to come with a delegation made up of maximum 5 persons,” Madalina Dobrovolschi mentioned.

    She revealed that the parties were distributed for consultations throughout the two days according to the numbers of mandates obtained.

    “There is no mystery from this point of view. You know very well how these consultations are made. Parties represented in Parliament according to their mandates and to their numbers are invited, being distributed in these two days so there will be time for consultations in the clearest way possible. There is no other purpose behind this consultation formula. The same formula was used in the consultations last week,” the President’s Spokesperson explained. More…

  • Cyprus President determined to work for a settlement, highlights Turkey’s role in forthcoming conference

    President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades said he was determined to reach a successful outcome in the forthcoming multilateral Conference on Cyprus, in Geneva, he underlined, however Turkey`s vital contribution, with practical and concrete steps towards this direction.

    President Anastasiades received on Monday, at a formal ceremony at the Presidential Palace, the credentials of the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Republic of Cyprus Jelena Rajakovic, based in Tel Aviv.

    “At this critical juncture, I wish to reassure of my determination to reach a successful outcome at the negotiations in Geneva, so as to achieve a settlement that will reunify our country and fulfill the vision of the people of Cyprus of building an attractive future for our youth and the generations to come” the President said.

    He added that a settlement needs to reunite the country, create a “win-win situation” for all Cypriots and rid Cyprus of third country military troops or guarantees, which he said was “an anachronism in today’s world”.

    To this end, the President went on, Turkey’s contribution in tangible terms in these negotiations is vital, since “there is no solution that can be reached without Turkey’s input”.

    “We do therefore expect Turkey, which is responsible for the illegal stationing of more than 40,000 occupation troops in Cyprus, to take practical and concrete steps towards this direction, particularly during the upcoming Conference of Cyprus, taking into account not only the benefit of the people of Cyprus, but also the positive impact a settlement will have to regional stability and cooperation” the President underlined.

    The President described in detail the path towards the three -day Geneva meeting, where internal aspects will be discussed between January 9-11. “Progress on these issues will allow us to come within reach of an agreement by creating the conditions and prospects for a successful conclusion of the multilateral Conference on Cyprus on 12th of January”, where the Chapter of Security and Guarantees will be discussed.

    Speaking on economic achievements, President Anastasiades noted that “today, Cyprus can be justifiably projected as a success story of economic reform” and outlined the government`s “ambitious reform agenda”, that aims to improve the business environment and attract increasingly foreign direct investments.

    While presenting her credentials, Ambassador Rajakovic expressed her country`s support towards a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

    She added that during the 2010-2011 period, when Bosnia and Herzegovina was a member of the UN Security Council the Council had held eight consultations on Cyprus and “representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina participated at each of those meetings and expressed full support to the negotiating sides in Cyprus for their efforts”.

    The Ambassador said finally that Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Cyprus have good relations and there are objective possibilities for their improvement. “Our intention is to intensify cooperation in the future” she said and appeared convinced that political and economic relations will strengthen in the coming years.

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides was also present at the ceremony.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Peace talks are currently underway to find a negotiated settlement that will reunite the country, under a federal roof.


  • PSD’s Dragnea: I’ll announce Prime Minister proposal on Wednesday ; it won’t be a name which appeared on television

    Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea stated that immediately after the consultations with President Iohannis he will announce the name of the person proposed for the Prime Minister office from the Social Democratic Party (PSD) – the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) side and he announced that he will not go to Cotroceni with a list of names, especially not the ones that appeared on television.

    “I will announce on Wednesday thins thing. I will make a decision, after I previously consult with the colleagues in the party, and, certainly, with the colleagues in the ALDE, a decision which will take into account my sole desire to put into practice the governance programme which is highly expected. (…) I have seen lists on television, and, as usual in this type of situation, it won’t be any of the people who appeared on television, this is what usually happens. But, if they feel good appearing on television, it’s their problem. None of them will be my proposition. There are no lists, because I won’t go with lists to Cotroceni, we won’t go to negotiate, we will be very civilized and we will make a proposal after weighting it well, very well,” Dragnea stated on the Romania TV private television station.

    When asked when the public opinion will know the PSD-ALDE proposal for the Prime Minister office, Dragnea responded as follows: “When we come out from the consultations, at the press conference.” We’ll probably be called on Wednesday. Wednesday or Thursday,” he added.

    The PSD leader stated that he finds it hard to believe that the head of state won’t accept the PSD-ALDE proposal, that he “won’t accept the popular vote and Romanians’ wish to enter as quickly as possible in a period of political stability and economic growth.”. “Conflicts don’t do any good to anyone,” Dragnea argued. More…

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