NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Bulgaria’s new Prime Minister Kiril Petkov on Friday (17 December) at NATO headquarters, on his first visit abroad as Prime Minister.
He congratulated the Prime Minister on his appointment and thanked Bulgaria for its commitment to the Alliance, including its contributions to NATO’s collective security in the Black Sea region. The Secretary General also commended Bulgaria for its efforts to build stability in the Western Balkans.
Turning to Russia’s substantial military build-up in and around Ukraine, the Secretary General stated, “NATO Allies have made clear that we call on Russia to immediately de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities”. He reiterated that NATO would take “all necessary measures to ensure the security and defence of all NATO Allies”. At the same time, the Secretary General stressed, “Allies made clear that we are ready for meaningful dialogue with Russia and we reiterate our long-standing invitation to Russia for a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council”.