General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, visited Bulgaria on 30 Nov-2 Dec. During his visit, General Pavel met with HE Mr Rumer Radev, President of Bulgaria, HE Mr Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Lieutenant General (ret) Zapryanov, Deputy Minister of Defence, and Lieutenant General Andrey Botsev, Chief of Defence. The Chairman also gave a lecture at the National Defence College.
Taking a moment to pay his respects to those soldiers who serve their country and have paid the ultimate price for peace and security, General Pavel, accompanied by Lieutenant General Andrey Botsev, Chief of Defence of Bulgaria, laid a wreath at the Memorial for the Unknown Soldier.
After the wreath laying, the generals had a focused discussion on Bulgaria’s active involvement in NATO’s Operations, Missions and Activities, including NATO’s tailored Forward Presence in the land, air and maritime domains across the Black Sea Region. The Chairman highlighted that
“NATO is paying great attention to the security situation in the Black Sea region, because we all understand that it is not an easy region and it will not be easy in the future. So NATO will keep supporting Bulgaria the same way as Bulgaria supports NATO”.
General Pavel also met with Lieutenant General (ret) Zapryanov, Deputy Minister of Defence. During this meeting, General Pavel thanked Bulgaria
“for the very commendable effort to increase defence spending and especially focus on increasing defence capabilities of Bulgaria. NATO is only as strong and capable as are its members. We need well equipped, modern and capable militaries for the whole NATO to be effective, to protect our populations and to ensure they will be living in peace and prosperity”.
Lieutenant General (ret) Zapryanov awarded General Pavel the “St. George” Medal of Honour of the Ministry of Defence. This is a military decoration awarded to both national and foreign military and civilians in recognition of outstanding merit in the field of security and defence as well as for contributions to strengthening cooperation in the military field. General Pavel expressed his deepest gratitude for this honour, while stressing that
“the work I do is only the reflection of the work and decisions by the 29 NATO Nations, so the credit really goes to the whole of the Alliance”.
The Chairman’s meeting with HE Mr Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria focused on the current threat landscape. General Pavel highlighted
“Bulgaria’s important role in increasing regional stability through cooperation with the partner countries of the Western Balkans. It is an overall NATO interest to have this region stable. And we are taking all efforts to have really good relationships with all the countries of the region”
, added General Pavel.
General Pavel concluded his visit with a meeting with the Bulgarian President, Mr Ramen Rudev, emphasising the very enriching meetings held throughout the visit. He thanked the President for
“the great privilege of being received by the highest political leadership, which demonstrates Bulgaria’s commitment to NATO, alongside the country’s commitment to increase defence spending, capability modernisation plans and contributions to regional and overall Transatlantic security.”
While in Sofia, General Pavel also took some time to address the Bulgarian National Defence College on “how evolving security challenges may also mean new opportunities for NATO” and answer questions from the students.