BULGARIA Friday, 14 March 2003 


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US Move to Ravnets in Case of a Longer War

Because of the tourist season, the US may move its facility from Sarafovo to Ravnets, Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Svinarov told reporters before the start of the Cabinet's meeting yesterday. He was referring to a camp that the USAF 409th Air Expeditionary Group had established at the cargo section of Bourgas Airport near Sarafovo earlier this month to handle tanker-jets that would provide in-flight refueling of US aircraft in case of a strike against Iraq. Bulgaria suggested to the US to overview the Ravnets Air Base, and their military man and the US Ambassador to Sofia James Pardew went there. "The last thing we want is that any possible prolongation of the US presence in Sarafovo troubles in any way the tourist season," Svinarov noted. "If the presence in the Bourgas region has to be continued, Ravnets is a very suitable base, we have offered it for this purpose," the Minister said. He specified that, in this case, a new procedure would have to be initiated, and the National Assembly would have to pass a new resolution. "As it is known, Sarafovo was expressly named in the effective Resolution that Parliament passed," Svinarov said. The USA proposed to support the Bulgarian chemical protection units abroad. Bulgaria will have to pay only for the maintenance of the military equipment and spare parts, Svinarov elaborated.
Evgeni Genov

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