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(DF) Bulgarian Foreign Minister Visits Ukraine, Confers with PM, Parliament Speaker

September 18 (BTA) - Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, who is paying an official visit to Ukraine, conferred here on Friday with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Chairman Dmytro Razumkov, Ukrainian People's Deputies and two deputy prime ministers, Zaharieva' Ministry said in a press release. During the meeting, Shmyhal personally committed to the speedy opening of a state secondary Bulgarian school in Odessa. In exchange, Sofia will provide an immovable property for the setting up of a Ukrainian cultural centre in the Bulgarian capital. "In the person of Bulgaria, your country has one of its most sincere friends in the EU and NATO," the guest assured the Prime Minister, conveying to him special greetings from his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov and extending to him an invitation to visit Bulgaria, which Shmyhal accepted right away. The two discussed a broad range of issues, including the situation of the Bulgarian community in Ukraine and teaching Bulgarian, EU and NATO integration processes, trade and economic contacts, and energy diversification. Zaharieva directly raised the question about the opening of a state secondary Bulgarian school in Odessa, on which Bulgaria has been insisted for several years now. The Prime Minister promised to instruct personally his education minister to speed up the procedure. At Zaharieva's request, the Ukrainian Government will also take steps for the protection of Bulgarian philology as a course of studies at the Ukrainian universities. The rehabilitation of the Odessa-Bolhrad-Reni road was also on the agenda. The sides discussed the measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. "When protective clothing was most badly needed, we managed to send 500 reusable protective suits for your doctors," the Foreign Minister said. She was thanked for the prompt pandemic-control aid from both Bulgaria and the EU. Zaharieva and Shmyhal also considered EU-Ukraine relations in the context of the Association Council due next month. "It is time to plan the future of the Eastern Partnership because the 'more for more' principle should not just paid lip service," the chief Bulgarian diplomat said. The two were adamant that the Joint Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation, which has not been in session for 10 years, must meet next year and a business forum must be organized in Sofia. Razumkov, together with a group of Ukrainian MPs, received Zaharieva. The Verkhovna Rada Chairman said: "We highly appreciate your country's support for our territorial integrity and your long-standing support both bilaterally and internationally. The coronavirus has dramatically changed our work, but I hope that we will be able to resume more vigorous parliamentary cooperation shortly. Our two countries have a very good relationship." "There is an age-old friendship between Bulgaria and Ukraine, and this is not an overstatement: our contacts date back to the First Bulgarian Empire. Ukraine is home to the largest Bulgarian historical community abroad. I am grateful to the Verkhovna Rada for adopting an administrative decree which not only kept but enlarged the Bolhrad Raion," the Bulgarian Deputy PM said in response. She was referring to a Verkhovna Rada decree adopted on July 17, 2020 which preserved the Bolhrad Raion as a separate administrative division, with Bolhrad as its administrative centre, and incorporated into it the Tarutyne and Artsyz raions where the Bulgarian community is predominant. The enlarged Bolhrad Raion has nearly 74,000 Bulgarian residents. The largest Bulgarian community in Ukraine was thus brought together in a single administrative division consisting of 10 municipalities. Zaharieva also conferred with two Verkhovna Rada members of Bulgarian descent, Tetiana Plachkova and Oleksandr Kopylenko. At the end of her visit to Kyiv, Zaharieva laid flowers at the monument of Bulgarian freedom fighter Captain Petko Voyvoda (1844-1990), who spent a part of his life in the city. RY/LG // 19 Eylül 2020, 08:00

Kaynak: BTA Free News

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