The Vice President Attends B9 Meeting in Bratislava

2023-06-06 18:19:00

Vice President Iliana Iotova took part in the meeting of the B9 political dialogue format countries in the Slovak capital Bratislava. The heads of state of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, as well as NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed preparations for the Alliance's July summit in Vilnius.

The main topic of discussion was the war in Ukraine. In her speech, Vice-President Iotova condemned Russian Federation's war on Ukraine and called for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the sovereign territory of the Ukrainian state. What should be our approach to Ukraine? Continued support for Ukraine, providing a clear perspective for potential NATO membership when conditions allow, and the creation of a NATO-Ukraine Council, the Vice President said.

Building the defence capabilities of the Eastern flank from the Baltic to the Black Sea, defence spending, the Alliance's Open Doors policy, preparedness and countering hybrid threats that undermine the unity of the Alliance and its vulnerable partners were also put to debate.

Iotova said the growing challenges and threats required a comprehensive strategy for the Black Sea region. The Vice President stressed the need for a common approach towards the Western Balkan countries, which are also subject to destabilising actions. We must continue to support our partners at risk in the Black Sea region and the Western Balkans - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Moldova, Iliana Iotova said.

The Vice President underlined Bulgaria's commitment to spending 2% of GDP on defence.

Iotova expressed confidence that Sweden's membership in NATO would strengthen the Alliance's defence capabilities and contribute significantly to security in the Euro-Atlantic area. I expect that Sweden will soon become the 32nd member of NATO and participate in the Vilnius summit in July, she said.

A declaration of the B9 countries was adopted at the Bratislava meeting.



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