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 BULGARIA Wednesday, 9 October 2002 
 

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Blair: Yes for NATO, No for NPP and Visas

The Prime Minister of Great Britain broke the protocol rules meeting with Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Small reactors are Bulgaria's headache, London said flat

"We thank you [Prime Minister] and Bulgaria for your support in the Security Council on difficult issues that we are handling at an international level at the moment," Blair said. The British Prime Minister described bilateral relations as "strong." Saxe-Coburg-Gotha thanked for the support expressed by Blair and noted that it means a lot for Bulgaria and for the public opinion in the country. The Bulgarian Prime Minister expressed hope that the two countries will promote their relations further in all possible ways. Asked whether a possible strike on Iraq and the possible use, in this context, of Bulgarian airspace and bases were discussed during the meeting, Blair said: "Obviously we discussed the international situation, although I have to say that most of our discussion really was in relation to Bulgaria and the future of Bulgaria." "I think we share the same analysis basically, which is that we want the United Nations to make its determination very clear to the Iraqi regime and that the Iraqi regime must recognize that the will of the United Nations has to be obeyed and there has to be disarmament of the weapons of mass destruction, the chemical, biological, potentially nuclear weapons," Blair said. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was asked whether the UK expects Bulgaria to support a new coalition against Iraq. The Bulgarian Prime Minister said that all diplomatic and peaceful options should first be applied in the context of UN Security Council resolutions. Asked whether he expects British support for an EU expert check on the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha said that, judging by the support of Prime Minister Blair and his advisors, he sees no obstacles to obtaining such support. The sides did not discuss in detail the issue about the Bulgarian nuclear power plant, according to Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The meeting, which was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Nikolay Vassilev, considered opportunities to expand British investment in Bulgaria. Taking a question on the expected waiving of British visas for Bulgarian travellers, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha said there will be difficulties due to the public opinion in the UK as well as certain cases involving Bulgarian nationals. Immediately after conferring with Blair, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha had a meeting with representatives of British media.

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