Bulgaria buys Belgian frigate
18 March 2005
BRUSSELS – Bulgaria will get its first NATO-compliant vessel in the form of Belgian frigate BNS Wandelaar, news reports Friday said.
The Bulgarian cabinet gave the green light to the EUR 23 million purchase of the 20-year-old frigate Thursday, after months of negotiations between the two countries that began last autumn.
Bulgarian government spokesman Dimitar Tsonev told Sofia News Agency that besides the vessel itself, the price tag includes the transfer of a full range of spare parts and tools and a training package.
Bulgaria, which joined NATO last year, plans to modernise the ship for an additional EUR 35 million, AFP news agency reported. It is part of a broader effort to modernise its military capabilities in line with NATO standards.
In a speech this February, Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolay Svinarov insisted that the country joined NATO not due to any “fashionable political trends,” but because its shares the organisation’s main values of peace, security, stability, democracy and development of an open democratic society.
He also said that Bulgaria is a “reliable partner” in the war against terrorism.
The vessel is set to fly the Bulgarian flag before the end of this year.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject : Belgian news