Russian president Boris Yeltsin’s March 29 statement suggesting that Bulgaria might be interested in joining a Russian-led political union continues to cause political reverberations in Sofia. Bulgaria’s foreign minister told reporters April 5 that Sofia would lodge an official protest in Moscow with the Russian Foreign Ministry. He also warned that Yeltsin’s remarks could have "negative consequences" for relations between the two countries. A day later Bulgarian prime minister Zhan Videnov asserted that Bulgaria is a "sovereign country" and described Yeltsin’s remarks as "extremely unacceptable." The condemnation was a concession from the pro-Russian prime minister, who has been accused by the Bulgarian president and opposition of holding secret negotiations with Moscow that betrayed Bulgarian interests. Videnov also suggested yesterday that Bulgarian president Zhelyu Zhelev has deliberately exaggerated the importance of Yeltsin’s remarks in order to boost his chances in the upcoming presidential election. (Reuter, April 5 & 7)
Minsk Warns it May Keep Strategic Nuclear Missiles.