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Bulgaria Guarantees NATO’s Eastern Flank and Black Sea Region Security, US Ambassador Merten Says

Bulgaria guarantees the security of NATO’s eastern flank and the strategically important Black Sea region, US Ambassador to Bulgaria Kenneth Merten said in his speech on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, 20 years of Bulgaria’s NATO membership and 33 years of the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria. He participated in an event organized by the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria “Bulgaria-US-NATO: Allies in Two Centuries”.

Merten stressed that 75 years after the signing of the Washington Treaty, 33 years after the founding of the Atlantic Club and 20 years after the country’s accession to NATO, Bulgaria has established itself as a reliable and valued member of the Alliance and a leader in regional security.

He noted that Bulgaria has contributed to NATO’s overall readiness and to key NATO missions such as those in Kosovo and Iraq.

NATO’s founding objective of defence and deterrence is as important today as it was when the alliance was established, Ambassador Merten highlighted. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he said, is a signal to the world and a reminder that freedom and democracy can never be taken for granted.

He also pointed to Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession and highlighted the role of the NATO security umbrella guaranteed by Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty – an attack against one country means an attack against all. Finland and Sweden made this choice, the same choice that Bulgaria made 20 years ago, Merten stressed.

He noted that NATO has maintained peace in Europe since the end of the Second World War. It is an alliance that makes us stronger together. Bulgaria’s national motto for the 20th anniversary reflects this feeling – “NATO: Because We Are Stronger Together”, Merten said.

The US Ambassador said that he is proud that his country is a friend, partner and ally of Bulgaria in building a more secure, prosperous and democratic future. Merten noted that the 120-year bilateral relationship has never been stronger. He stressed that the US has provided assistance for Bulgaria’s military modernisation in recent years.

Referring to the upcoming NATO summit in Washington in July, Merten said that the theme is “Defending our Future”. He added that the Alliance is expanding its network of partners, with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea invited to the July meeting.