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NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg Delivers Address on Occasion of Bulgaria’s NATO Membership Anniversary 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivered a speech in a video, addressed to Bulgarian National Assembly Chair Nikola Minchev, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and members of Parliament, on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of Bulgaria’s accession to the Alliance. The video was published on the Bulgarian National Assembly’s website Tuesday evening. “Eighteen years ago, today, your country joined our Alliance and Bulgaria has been a committed ally ever since” Stoltenberg said. He thanked for Bulgaria’s contribution to the shared security, stressing the Black Sea region, which is of great strategic importance for NATO.  “Bulgaria’s contributions are even more important at this defining moment for our security,” Stoltenberg commented in view of the war in Ukraine. “NATO allies condemn this war and call on [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin to stop it immediately, withdraw all his forces and engage in diplomacy,” the NATO Secretary General said.
He recalled Bulgaria’s contributions to the Alliance, this country accepting refugees from Ukraine and sending humanitarian aid there, among others.  “This is trans-Atlantic solidarity in action. It sends an unmistakable message that we all stand together. We will protect Bulgaria and defend every inch of allied territory. One for all and all for one,” Stoltenberg said, adding that NATO’s increased presence is defensive in nature and aims preserve peace, to prevent conflicts and not provoke them. He also called on all allies to invest at least 2 per cent of their GDP in defence.  “I know I can count on Bulgaria’s continued commitment to NATO in the future,” Stoltenberg said in his address. 
Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov wrote in a Facebook post that he is grateful to Stoltenberg for the warm and clear message on the occasion of Bulgaria’s 18th anniversary of joining NATO. “Bulgaria is NATO,” Petkov wrote.