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Bulgaria and Iraq - Similarities and Differences in the Democratic Transition
 
On April 20, 2005 the Center for the Study of Democracy jointly with the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency held a round table to discuss the democratic development of Bulgaria and Iraq. Participants included Ambassador Boyko Noev, former Minister of Defense and current Director of CSD European Program, Velizar Shalamanov, former Deputy Minister of Defense and current Chairman of George Marshall Association in Bulgaria, Dimitar Sotirov, Chairman of the Bulgarian Media Coalition, diplomats and journalists.

In the discussion Amb. Boyko Noev suggested that the Bulgarian parliament invites an Iraqi parliamentary delegation before the end of its mandate. Such visit would help the society to understand better the character and the benefits of Bulgaria's commitment in Iraq. Bulgarian policy in Iraq is a policy of assistance, not of occupation, he added. In his opinion, the debate in Bulgaria is focused on the victims in Iraq. Bulgarian efforts as well as Iraqi people's opinion about the results of these efforts are not taken into account.

The Iraqui journalist Mohamed Halaf pointed out that Iraq needs the Bulgarian experience in establishing democratic institutions and in the preparation of a Constitution. He underlined that Bulgaria is most probably the only country in Europe without a dimplomatic mission in Iraq which to communicate with the Iraqui government bodies.

Mr. Shalamanov put a stress on the need to build a legitimate security sector in Iraq, legally based and under an efficient civil control.


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