Defence Minister Yanev: No One Is Imposing Decisions Related to Our Security

Sofia, February 8 (BTA) - "No one, for any reason, is imposing on us decisions related to our security. Decisions are made in an alliance format after consultations and with consensus, with each member state presenting its sovereign national position," said Defence Minister Stefan Yanev here on Tuesday. He was speaking at the opening of the Annual Conference of the Chief of Defence.

The topic of this year's two-day forum is "Adapting the Armed Forces' Structure, Planning, Preparation and Deployment to the Requirements of the NATO Concept of Deterrence and Defence in the Euro-Atlantic Area".

Bulgaria is a sovereign state and all decisions related to taking specific actions in the area of defence are made by the Bulgarian Government and National Assembly, Yanev said.

"The region we live in today is faced with one of the most serious military-political crises since the end of the Cold War. This challenge requires us to respond appropriately and act bravely, decisively and in a nationally responsible manner," the Defence Minister said.

Yanev said that what is happening around Ukraine's border is a challenge for the Euro-Atlantic security and has a serious negative impact on Bulgaria's national security. The concentration of Russian troops in close proximity to Ukraine's border fuels tension, contributes to instability and gives Moscow a strategic advantage in achieving its political goals in the spirit of realpolitik. The process towards a lasting change in the strategic balance of powers in the Black Sea region continues, the Defence Minister said.

Yanev further noted that his Ministry's political leadership sees the need to concentrate efforts in five priority areas - people in defence, building and developing defence capabilities, military education system, innovations and research and development, increasing the administrative capacity, regulatory framework and by-laws.

He said that measures will be taken to address the large number of vacant positions for servicepersons and attracting high-quality staff to serve. Yanev noted that he and his team will do everything possible to renew this year the implementation of the project for the purchase of new armoured vehicles for the Land Forces.

Stefan Yanev further said that he will do everything possible for Bulgaria to fulfill as soon as possible its commitment to its allies to increase defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP by 2024.

The Chief of Defence, Admiral Emil Eftimov, told the Conference that NATO's deterrence and defence concept for Euro-Atlantic zone sets new challenges for the Alliances' armed forces concerning their role in implementing the concept and their defence capabilities and readiness.

The collective security system does not mean that a NATO member can ensure its defence at the expense of other allies. The principle behind this is solidarity in defence spending, which is accepted to be at least 2 per cent of countries' GDP, he said.

Chief of Staff of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe Admiral Joachim Ruhle is also taking part in the Conference in Sofia.

Speaking at a briefing after the Annual Conference of the Chief of Defence, Minister Yanev said that the topic whether US servicepersons can participate in the Bulgarian battalion will be discussed with representatives of the US Department of State, who are currently in Bulgaria.

Asked when the first F-16 fighters are expected to be delivered, Yanev said that there are delays. "Officially, we have a letter which says that the delivery of the first fighter jets will be delayed. The letter says this delay will be a few months," Yanev said, adding that more details will become clear after the meeting with representatives of the Lockheed Martin corporation, scheduled for Wednesday, Bulgarian National Radio said.

He also said that the training of the pilots who will be flying the new aircraft, continues. RY/MY

Source: Sofia