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Benjamin Netanyahu Administration: PM Netanyahu Meets with Bulgarian PM Borissov

(February 25, 2016)

Prime Minister Netanyahu

It's a pleasure for me to welcome my good friend, welcome B. B. once again in Jerusalem. We have a close personal friendship which mirrors the close friendship between the people of Bulgaria and the people of Israel. This goes back centuries. And we also remember the heroic stance of the people of Sofia to save Jews during the dark period in the Holocaust. This sense of kinship has been mirrored in the close relationship that we now have in practical ways, practical terms. And we're going to discuss all the areas of cooperation in economy and trade, in security, and in many, many other fields - in technology - between Bulgaria and Israel.

Jews in Bulgaria made great contributions to that country and Jewish Bulgarians who came to Israel have made an enormous contribution to Israel. So with this personal friendship, with the historic friendship between our peoples and this human bridge, we can do a great deal to make our people more prosperous and more secure.

And I want to say a final word about security. Boyko, we both faced terrorist attacks from the same source. We cooperated very closely after the terrorist attack in Burgas. But we know that this is a single instance of the larger plague that attacks our countries in the Middle East and the world. Israel and Bulgaria stand on the same side in the battle against militant Islamist terrorism and extremism. This is a battle not only for the future of our countries, but for the future of our common values and our common civilization. By cooperating we are stronger, and we cooperate and we will win. So it's in that spirit that I welcome you, a deep spirit of friendship. Welcome, my friend, to Jerusalem.

I am looking forward to our discussions. I also want to bring to your attention that we are going to lower a lot of customs, import taxes, so we look forward for a lot of Bulgarian cheese. And of course we'll discuss many other areas relating to our growing cooperation.  I would like to thank you for standing up with Israel in a number of international forums.

Prime Minister Borissov

Thank you very much Prime Minister Netanyahu. And also here I would like to highlight the fact that last night the media, as well as myself, have had the opportunity to meet the so-called Bulgarian community in Jerusalem, or as I would say the Bulgarian Jews or the Jewish Bulgarians. However this is the only state in which this does not matter. There is no such differentiation with Bulgarians.

It was a very sentimental moment to be able to talk to people who back in the day during the Holocaust were two, three years old, and back then the Bulgarians contributed to their salvation, and to be able to speak to them today with the memories that they held deep, and basically they spoke about Bulgaria and Israel as a common homeland.

And in terms of the sector of security and countering terrorism, there is many things that we have accomplished together and that we're doing together, and I will not hide the fact that on many occasions we also have telephone conversations in that regard.

And Prime Minister Netanyahu is a great source of wisdom and of knowledge about processes taking place in the region and beyond in relation to that, a very informed man. And I am very grateful that he has been always very straightforward and frank with me and has enlightened me about his views in terms of processes and trends that he is seeing in the region and globally, for which I thank you very much.

And also we have not had a chance to discuss this yet, but I hope we have the opportunity today to discuss the great potential that is held by Israel in terms of the large gas reserves that have been ascertained here. The President of Cyprus several days ago informed me, he was on a... we had a chance to discuss this, and I see great future in that and we will discuss this I hope today.

Source: “PM Netanyahu Meets with Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov,” IMRA (February 25, 2016)