Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov on Tuesday afternoon, in Burgas held an official ceremony at the site of the terrorist attack together with senior members of the Bulgarian government, including Bulgaria’s tourism minister, the governor of Burgas, the mayor, leaders of the Bulgarian Jewish community and members of the Israeli delegation which includes senior representatives from the Israeli tourism industry. The ceremony opened with the recital of kaddish. The Minister also laid a wreath on behalf of the State of Israel.
During his speech, the minister thanked the local rescue forces and Bulgarian authorities on behalf of Israeli officials, for their devoted and efficient care and the contribution of the Bulgarian government to the care of those injured and the investigation of the terror attack.
Misezhnikov added “The important message that I have come here to send out on behalf of the State of Israel is not to let terrorism disrupt our lives. We cannot allow terrorists that have tried to destroy relationships between countries to succeed in their evil intentions and the answer to the terrorism needs to be the strengthening of relationships in all areas. Bulgaria was and remains a friendly nation for us and I thank the Bulgarian Government for their devoted care.”
Immediately following the ceremony the minister toured the vacation sites frequented by Israelis in the area of Sunny Beach, the destination of the targeted tourist bus. The minister spoke with Israeli tourists in Bulgaria who expressed their concerns. Later in the day, he traveled to Varna where he met with the governor and mayor and toured other popular tourist destinations. The Minister and his delegation will return to Israel Tuesday night.
The Minister a day earlier held a press conference in Sophia together with the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, during which they announced that Bulgaria and Israel will strengthen their strategic cooperation in security and tourism.
As part of the strengthening of the diplomatic and tourism ties between the countries, in September 2012 the governments of Israel and Bulgaria will meet in Jerusalem in order to discuss continued cooperation between the two countries. In October, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev will come on an official visit to Israel.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)