(DF) Foreign Ministers of Bulgaria, Czech Republic Discuss Tourist Season, Travel Conditions

June 11 (BTA) – The tourist season and travel conditions featured high on the agenda of a meeting here between caretaker Foreign Minister Svetlan Stoev and his Czech counterpart Jakub Kulhanek, who arrived on a working visit to Bulgaria on Friday. The meeting was also attended by caretaker Tourism Minister Stela Baltova and Deputy Health Minister Toma Tomov. Afterwards, Stoev told journalists that what had been discussed and agreed on during the meeting will ease travel in the coming months. Kulhanek said that Bulgaria is a favourite destination of many Czech tourists. During the meeting, he raised the question whether they will be able to visit Bulgaria without testing or self-isolation 22 days after having received one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19. Deputy Health Minister Tomov assured the guest that the matter will be discussed by an expert council. EU enlargement was also on the agenda, with both sides confirming the European perspective of the Western Balkans, Stoev told journalists. When it comes to the Republic of North Macedonia, Bulgaria’s position continues to be that it is of key importance to maintain goodneighbourly relations and receive the necessary guarantees for the implementation of the 2017 Treaty of Friendship, Goodneighbourliness and Cooperation, he stressed. “I can assure you that in the last days included, everything possible is being made both by Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia to build a positive atmosphere and restore the trust in our relations,” Stoev said. He added that Bulgaria expects from its closest ally a constructive response for finding a sustainable and lasting solution, which will contribute to the security and prosperity not only of the two countries but also of the region as a whole. The Czech Foreign Minister said that his country makes efforts to unblock the EU enlargement process and to show the Western Balkan countries that this common European future is real. “We know that the process is long but we believe that the EU should send a strong message that the Western Balkan countries are being relied on and will be included,” he commented. Regarding Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia, he expressed the hope that an intergovernmental conference will be organized as soon as possible. “We know that will be only a single step down a very complex road that awaits us, but despite that I believe we have a common opinion with the Bulgarian State, that we support the Western Balkan countries’ entry in the EU and one day becoming full members of the EU,” Kulhanek underscored. The ministers also discussed the 2014 explosion at a military ammunition warehouse in Varbetice. “What happened in the Czech Republic and the [similar] explosions in Bulgaria are an important impetus to hold discussions within the entire EU on what relations we should have with Russia, ” Kulhanek said. There is active exchange on information on this case between Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, both foreign ministers noted. Also on the meeting’s agenda was the topic of the July 11 snap elections in Bulgaria and the opening of voting sections in the Czech Republic outside of the Bulgarian Embassy. Kulhanek committed to have this matter settled in the coming days. RY/DS //