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Archive for Bulgaria

Newsline: Bulgaria Recalls Embassy Official From Netherlands Over Illegally Collecting Coronavirus ‘Tax’

A senior official at the Bulgarian embassy in The Hague has been recalled for illegally collecting what he called a coronavirus tax from visitors seeking consular assistance, Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said the head of the consular section in the Dutch city had been collecting 5 euros ($5.45) from Bulgarian visitors to the embassy as well as a 10 euro-tax from visitors from other countries.”Such behaviour is completely incompatible with the Bulgarian diplomatic service and cannot be tolerated in any way,” Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said in a statement. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-04-07/bulgaria-recalls-embassy-official-from-netherlands-over-illegally-collecting-coronavirus-tax) The ministry said disciplinary proceedings would be initiated, adding that explanations have also been sought from Bulgaria’s ambassador to Netherlands. The embassy did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Newsline: Bulgaria expels two Russian diplomats for espionage

Bulgaria expelled two Russian diplomats who prosecutors suspect were involved in espionage and gave them 48 hours to leave the Balkan country, the foreign ministry said on Friday. EU and NATO member Bulgaria, which traditionally keeps close links to Russia, expelled another diplomat over espionage allegations in October and declined to grant a visa to Russia’s incoming defense attache. The Russian Embassy in Sofia said the two diplomats would leave Bulgaria, but Moscow reserved its right to respond to their expulsions. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bulgaria-russia/bulgaria-expels-two-russian-diplomats-for-espionage-idUSKBN1ZN10K) The embassy said Sofia had handed diplomatic notes to the ambassador without providing any proof that the two had acted in a way incompatible with their status. Earlier on Friday Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zharieva said the two would most likely be expelled after the foreign ministry was informed about the prosecutors’ allegations.

Newsline: Russia declares Bulgarian embassy counsellor persona non grata

A note declaring a Bulgarian embassy counsellor persona non grata has been handed over to Bulgarian Ambassador to Moscow Atanas Krastin, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. “The move is a tit-for-tat response to the Bulgarian authorities’ October decision to expel a Russian diplomat,” the statement reads. (https://tass.com/politics/1096095) On October 29, Bulgaria declared a Russian embassy employee persona non grata, saying he was suspected of espionage. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said then that Moscow would consider retaliatory measures “in accordance with diplomatic practice.”.

Newsline: Kazakh President Appoints His Brother-In-Law As Ambassador To Bulgaria

Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has appointed his brother-in-law Temirtai Izbastin as Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Bulgaria. Kazakhstan’s presidential press service announced the appointment on November 1. The 61-year-old Izbastin is the husband of Toqaev’s sister Qarlygha Izbastina. He has been working at Kazakhstan’s diplomatic missions in other countries since 1994. Media reports say Toqaev’s son, Timur Toqaev, and Izbastin’s son, Mukhamed, are the founders of the Abi Petroleum Capital oil company — a firm that operates in Kazakhstan’s western region of Atyrau. (https://www.rferl.org/a/kazakh-president-appoints-brother-in-law-ambassador-bulgaria/30248382.html) Toqaev, 66, became Kazakhstan’s president after the country’s long-time leader, President Nursultan Nazarbaev, announced his surprise resignation in March.

Newsline: Bulgaria gave Russian diplomat 24 hours to leave

Bulgaria’s foreign ministry gave a Russian diplomat allegedly involved in espionage 24 hours to leave the country after it found that its request to Moscow to recall him had not been carried out. The ministry was forced to hand a written note to the Russian ambassador early after the Russian embassy informed it that the diplomat was still in Bulgaria, it said in a statement. In a rare move, Bulgaria expelled the diplomat after prosecutors said he had held conspiratorial meetings with Bulgarians, including with a senior official with a clearance for classified information from the European Union and NATO since last September. “The Russian embassy has received a note from the Bulgarian foreign ministry declaring an embassy’s employee a persona non grata. The diplomat will leave the country in the note’s outlined timeline,” the embassy said in a posting on Twitter, adding that the Russian side is reserving its right to take corresponding measures. (https://news.yahoo.com/bulgaria-gives-russian-diplomat-24-160126668.html) Bulgaria, a loyal ally of Moscow in Soviet times, is now a member of NATO and the European Union but has close cultural and historic ties to Russia, which remains its biggest energy supplier. Sofia did not join its NATO and EU allies in expelling Russian diplomats over the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England last year.

Newsline: Cambodia to re-open embassy in Bulgaria

Cambodia will re-open its embassy in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, in 2019. Prime Minister Hun Sen and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov met in New York on Friday, Sept. 28, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. On that occasion Hun Sen told his counterpart about the planned re-opening of the embassy that was temporarily closed due to the tenuous political situation in Bulgaria at the time. Mr Borissov welcomed the re-opening of the Kingdom’s embassy in his country and told Hun Sen that it is an opportunity for him to pay an official visit to Bulgaria. Both countries pledged to to enhance cooperation and strengthen their relationship in economic, commercial, and touristic matters.


Newsline: Bulgaria to put ‘honorary consulate,’ not embassy, in Jerusalem

Bulgaria will, “as a first step,” open an honorary consulate in Jerusalem that will not only deal with Bulgarian interests in the capital, but throughout the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. Netanyahu made this announcement at Sunday’s cabinet meeting, saying he discussed the matter on Saturday night during a phone call with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, who was in the country earlier this month. “I told him this is a welcome step, which I very much hope will lead quickly to the opening of Bulgaria’s official and full embassy in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. Diplomatic sources, however, said that the move has little real significance. The Czech Republic made a similar move last month, naming businessman Dan Propper as its honorary consul in Jerusalem. Bulgaria’s Embassy is currently located in Tel Aviv.


Newsline: Bulgarian Embassy first secretary found dead after fall in Japan

A man, identified as the first secretary at the Bulgarian Embassy in Japan, was found dead on the ground in front of a commercial building in Shinjuku on Monday morning in what appears to be a suicide, police said. At around 9:45 a.m., a passerby called emergency services saying that he saw a man “falling from a high place,” Sankei Shimbun reported. When emergency services arrived at the scene, they found the man lying on the ground unconscious. He was taken to a hospital where he was soon pronounced dead. The man was identified as the first secretary of the Bulgarian Embassy in Tokyo, which is located in Shibuya ward. The man, whose name has been withheld, was 41 years old and had apparently begun his term at the embassy in March. Eyewitnesses reported to the police that they saw the man standing on the 7th floor on the building shortly before he fell to his death. There was no suicide note found at the scene, police said.


Newsline: Bulgarian Embassy in Moscow Received Letter with White Powder

The Bulgarian Embassy is among the 13 which have received letters with white powder. According to local sources, the substance is an insect venom, including the pesticide fipronil used in agriculture and veterinary medicine. Such letters were sent to the Embassies of US, Canada, Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, France, Romania, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Poland, etc. Russian security agencies assure that letters do not pose a threat. This was confirmed by a representative of the headquarters of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.


Newsline: Bulgaria reduces number of staff at North Korean embassy in Sofia

Bulgaria has implemented the latest UN resolution on North Korea and reduced the number of diplomatic staff at the DPRK embassy in Sofia, according to the country’s most recent report on sanctions implementation. Resolution 2321, which passed in November last year, calls upon member states to pay closer attention to the activities of North Korean diplomatic staff.