Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff, right, speaks to Bulgaria's President Georgi Purvanov during an official welcoming ceremony in Sofia, October 5 2011.
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has been given an official welcome in Bulgaria's capital city Sofia at the start of a two-day visit to the country.
Rousseff, the guest of her Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Purvanov, was scheduled to hold a number of high-level meetings, including with Purvanov and with Prime Minister Boiko Borissov. She has brought with her a large number of business people and a Bulgarian-Brazilian business forum is to be held.
On October 6, Rousseff, who is partly of Bulgarian descent, is scheduled to meet relatives in the town of Gabrovo and also is to visit Veliko Turnovo.
Her October 5 talks with Borissov were also to be attended by Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov and Economy, Energy and Tourism Minister Traicho Traikov.
Rousseff’s delegation includes Brazil’s foreign minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, development, industry and foreign trade minister Fernando Pimentel, and minister of social communication Secretariat Helena Chagas.
This is the first visit by a Brazilian head of state in Bulgaria since the two countries established diplomatic relations about 50 years ago.
Bilateral agreements on co-operation in economic matters and in information technology were scheduled to be signed in the presence of the two presidents.
The Brazilian president will also be awarded Bulgaria’s highest state honour, the Order of Stara Planina, first class.
Rousseff will also meet the Speaker of Bulgaria's unicameral Parliament, the National Assembly, Tsetska Tsacheva.
Brazil expects an enhancement of economic relations with Bulgaria during the visit, Rubens Gama, director of the trade and investment department of Brazil’s foreign ministry, said in an interview with Bulgarian National Radio.
Gama said that there are possibilities for Bulgarian exports of agricultural fertilisers, for co-operation in power production as well as for Brazilian investments in this country.
Speaking at an October 4 briefing, Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vessela Tcherneva said that the visit is important because Brazil is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, a strategic partner of the EU, and a country of growing importance in international relations.
"Obviously, her visit, at such a high level,for so long, with so much content, including in terms of opening business opportunities and business contacts between the two countries, is a unique opportunity not only for Bulgarian-Brazilian relations, but also for Brazil's relations with the EU, the manner in which Brazil is present in Europe and, of course, hopefully from now on, Bulgarian business will benefit fully from all these opportunities," Tcherneva said.