Bulgaria Won't Join NATO Black Sea Fleet

Members of the U.S. Army take part in a military exercise'Iron Wolf 2016 at the Training Range in Pabrade some 60km. north of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania Thursday

NATO’s non-stop efforts to build up more and more military forces around Russia’s frontier has mostly centered on the Baltic Sea, but has also seen some planning take place a bit further south, with NATO’s western members talking up the idea of a Black Sea Fleet to confront Russia there.

This is problematic, because the Montreaux Convention severely limits the deployment of ships from nations without a coast on the Black Sea. The three NATO members with such a coast are Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria.

And Bulgaria wants no part of it.

Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said he would not join a proposed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation fleet in the Black Sea because it should be a place for holidays and tourists, not war.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov announced this on Thursday during a joint press conference with President Rosen Plevneliev.

"We have not seen any concrete implementation of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation decisions to build up its military presence in the Black Sea so far but the alliance is discussing this idea".

At the same time, Plevneliev has been quoted as saying: "Let's stop with the speculations that fleets will be set up against anyone. That's the main reason we're there - to deter potential aggression". Moscow says it poses no threat to the alliance. "I was talking about joint naval drills that will include Romania, Bulgaria, and maybe other countries". Sofia said it could deploy up to 400 people for training and joint exercises.

Countries without a Black Sea maritime border are banned from keeping their warships in the area for over 21 days under the Montreux Convention.




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