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Bulgaria abroad

Israeli foreign minister Lieberman to visit Bulgaria

Author: The Sofia Echo staff Date: Mon, Dec 06 2010 3529 Views
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Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman was to visit Bulgaria and would thank its leaders for the assistance sent from Sofia to fight the Carmel forest fire, the Israeli foreign ministry said.

Lieberman was scheduled to meet President Georgi Purvanov, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov, the ministry said.

The trip also included stops in Slovenia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Carmel forest fire was reported on December 6 2010 to have been extinguished.

The fire, which broke out close to the city of Haifa on December 2, left 42 people dead.

About 20 countries, Bulgaria included, sent aircraft and equipment to fight the flames that have consumed more than 5000 hectares of the Carmel Forest in northern Israel, the Voice of America said.  And despite the stalled peace process, the Palestinians sent three fire engines and crews in a rare sign of co-operation. 
Among countries that assisted was Turkey, notwithstanding the tensions with Ankara over the May 2010 Gaza flotilla episode. Reportedly, Turkey sent assistance at the request of Germany.
Relations between Israel and Turkey have been deteriorating since Recep Tayyip Erdogan became Turkey’s prime minister in 2003. In counterpoint to its sending of firefighting assistance, on December 5 Turkey continued to insist that Israel should apologise for the Gaza flotilla incident and compensate the families of those who died.
Israel says that some of the activists on the flotilla had ties to a Turkish organisation in turn linked to Al-Qaeda.
Israeli daily Haaretz said on December 5 that Israeli and Turkish officials were in talks to draft an agreement to mend bilateral relations.

On December 6, the Israeli foreign ministry said that the following day, a farewell ceremony would be held at a Jerusalem hotel for the international firefighting forces that assisted Israel in putting out the recent fire in the Carmel Forest region.

Deputy foreign minister Daniel Ayalon would speak at the ceremony and give each delegation a certificate that a tree was planted on their behalf, the statement said.

Bulgaria's Deputy Foreign Minister, Dimitar Tsanchev, and more than 200 members of the international forces from Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Switzerland, the United States, Azerbaijan, Croatia and France would attend, Israel's foreign ministry said.


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