We reaffirm the strategic partnership between Bulgaria and the United States. Both sides share common values and interests and are committed to the preservation of peace and international order. Cooperation with the United States has an important place in our country's foreign policy, both bilaterally and multilaterally. This was stated by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov during a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York.
Prime Minister Borissov highlighted that the United States and Bulgaria have established excellent relations in the field of security and defense, both bilaterally and within NATO. "Bulgaria appreciates the continued support by US government for modernizing the Bulgarian armed forces and achieving greater interoperability. I am convinced that the enhanced common exercises and trainings that take place on the territory of the joint Bulgarian-American facilities contribute greatly to enhancing the interoperability of the Bulgarian armed forces with those of the other NATO member states", added Boyko Borissov. In this regard, the Bulgarian Prime Minister expressed high appreciation for the decisive actions taken by the United States through the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) and the operation Atlantic Resolve.
During the talks, the Bulgarian Prime Minister said that, at the beginning of the year, the government confirmed its commitments within NATO by approving a national plan to gradually increase defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2024. "Updated investment projects have been prepared for the purchase of new combat armored machines for the Land Forces, a new type of fighter jet for the Air Force, and two multi-functional modular patrol vessels for the Navy," added Prime Minister Borissov.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed that the interaction between the Bulgarian and the US law enforcement agencies is consistent and practical. During the conversation, it was noted that the services of the two countries have been cooperating effectively in the fight against organized crime, terrorism, trafficking in human beings and drugs, cyber security, corruption, and others.
The deepened bilateral trade and economic cooperation was also highlighted during the meeting. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov noted that the attraction of US investments is among the main priorities of the Bulgarian government's efforts, focusing on information technology, machine building, electrical engineering, and the electronics sectors. During the conversation, the Bulgarian Prime Minister said that maintaining financial discipline, a favorable tax climate, a qualified labor force, as well as the implementation of the necessary legislative measures, make our country an increasingly desirable place for business and investment.
During the meeting, the Bulgarian Prime Minister informed the US Secretary of State about the progress of interconnections with Greece, Serbia, and Turkey, as well as on the modernization and expansion of the existing gas network in Bulgaria. Borissov also stressed the increase in the capacity of the Chiren gas storage facility and the progress with the natural gas exploration in the Bulgarian aqua territory of the Black Sea.
"Bulgaria and the United States have the opportunity to further expand their active energy partnerships, both on institutional and corporate levels. Our country would highly appreciate the US support for the implementation of the gas hub on the territory of Bulgaria, which would enhance the energy diversification of Bulgaria and help build a competitive and liberalized gas market in Europe", Prime Minister Borissov said.