18:18 Jun. 16, 2016
PM says he does not want to see warships sailing past tourist resorts
Bulgaria's prime minister said on Thursday, June 16, he would not join a proposed NATO fleet meant to counter Russian forces in the Black Sea as he did not want a war there, a day after Moscow warned against any build-up.
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Boiko Borisov said he did not want to see frigates sailing past the tourist resorts, at a joint press conference with President Rosen Plevneliev who described Bulgaria as a peaceful country.
Tensions between Russia and the alliance have risen, particularly since the Ukraine crisis and Turkey's downing of a Russian jet in November. Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014, has its own Black Sea Fleet based at Sevastopol.
Turkey and Romania, the two other NATO members along the Black Sea coast, have called for the NATO fleet and more alliance troops in an area important for both East and West given its energy reserves and closeness to the Middle East.
"I always say that I want the Black Sea to see sailboats, yachts, large boats with tourists and not become an arena of military action ... I do not need a war in the Black Sea," Borisov said.
"Let's stop with the speculations that fleets will be set up against anyone," President Plevneliev added.
"Bulgaria is a peaceful country and its foreign policy is not aimed at anyone."