Israeli officials swiftly dismissed a New York Times report published on Tuesday which claimed that the Burgas bombing that killed five Israelis has jeopardized Bulgarian relations with both Israel and Arab states.
Bulgaria and Israel will maintain their friendly ties after the Burgas bus bombing, President Shimon Peres said Tuesday during a visit from Bulgarian Tourism Minister Delyan Dobrev.
Dobrev, in turn, assured Peres that Bulgarian relations with Israel would only grow stronger in the wake of the bombing.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Bulgarian-Israeli ties were strained by Sofia’s unwillingness to assign blame for the Burgas airport bombing to Hezbollah and Iran in lockstep with Jerusalem. It quoted a Bulgarian political scientist saying that Bulgaria’s open accusation of Hezbollah would be “as good as entering a minefield.”
The paper also noted that the Bulgars have “tried to contain details about the investigation, hoping to avoid mistakes in a situation with global political and security implications.”
Israeli Ambassador to Bulgaria Shaul Kamisa-Raz on Tuesday rejected the Times’s claim saying that Bulgarian-Israeli relations are extremely warm and good, and the authors of the article are unaware of the current state of affairs.
The Sofia News Agency reported that Kamisa-Raz cited the Tourism Minister Stas Mesizhnikov’s visit to Sofia days after the attack, and Dobrev’s current trip to Israel as proof of Israeli-Bulgarian amity.
Kamisa Raz also noted that Bulgarian and Israeli cabinet members are scheduled to meet in September, but gave no indication of where the meeting would be held.