|On the occasion of his leaving the country, CSD and friends held a going away party for the Ambassador of Norway Rolf Baltzersen on 23 October 2006. Ambassador Baltzersen opened Norway’s embassy in Sofia five years ago and has since established a reputation of an active supporter of Bulgarian reforms. Through his involvement Norway supported a number of partnership initiatives of CSD with the Bulgarian ministries of interior, defense and foreign affairs. A keen mountaineer and cross country skier, he also fell in love with the Bulgarian mountains.
In his address, Dr. Ognian Shentov, CSD Chairman, put an emphasis on the vision and passion of Ambassador Baltzersen - vision for the the role of Bulgaria, Norway and Europe in a globalizing world and for the direction and pace of the reforms in Bulgaria, and passion for more diversified development of bilateral relations. He pointed out that Ambassador Baltzersen has been instrumental for the realization of many reform initiatives, including sharing Bulgarian experience with Serbian governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Mr. Lyubomir Kyuchukov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized Ambassador Baltzersen’s input in the further development of the 100-year-long Bulgarian - Norwegian relations and in the organization of high level visits including the recent visit of President Parvanov to Norway in August 2006. He expressed hope that in the future, even as a member of the EU, Bulgarian government could still rely on the Norwegian support.
Deputy Minister of Interior Ambassador Boyko Kotzev, spoke about Ambassador Baltzersen’s contribution to the development of bilateral relations in the area of security and thanked for the support in the fields of justice and home affairs. He expressed gratitude for the work of the Norwegian government in cooperation with CSD aiming at reforms in the security sector and countering corruption within the Ministry of Interior and its agencies. On behalf of the Ministry he presented Ambassador Baltzeresen with an honorary dirk.
In response, Ambassador Baltzersen thanked for the appreciation and agreed that passion and vision had been indeed necessary for the fulfillment of effective diplomatic service in Bulgaria especially in a transition period. He thanked the representatives of the Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs and Defense as well as the CSD and expressed hope that after his retirement he will remain involved with the processes in Bulgaria. He shared his content to see that Bulgarian experience acquired through cooperation with the Norwegian government can now be shared with other countries in the region.
Guests at the party were Ambassador Todor Tchourov - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Plamen Petkov - Secretary General of the Ministry of Defense, Ambassador Valeri Rachev - Bulgarian Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Anton Stankov – former Minister of Justice, Ambassador Kauko Jamsen – Embassy of Finland, Ambassador Danilo Vucetic – Embassy of Serbia and many others who have worked closely with the Royal Norwegian Embassy during Ambassador Baltzersen’s service in Bulgaria.