Trump and Bulgarian prime minister discuss energy, NATO, visas

U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov met at the White House for bilateral meetings on Monday. Pool photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI

Nov. 26 (UPI) — President Donald Trump and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov held a bilateral meeting Monday to discuss the Eastern European country’s energy issues, defense spending and visa programs.

In a joint statement, the two leaders acknowledged Bulgaria’s energy security needs and supported its efforts to move toward “more efficient and cleaner” sources of energy such as gas and nuclear.

The United States said it plans to send a technical team to Bulgaria to research further cooperation, to license the use of American nuclear fuel for the Kozloduy nuclear plant and to support its aspirations to become a regional natural gas hub.

“These steps together will significantly enhance Bulgaria’s energy security, lower energy costs for the Bulgarian consumer and make Bulgaria an energy leader in the region,” the statement said.

Bulgaria also pledged to meet its long-term NATO defense spending pledge by 2024 as the United States commended the country for exceeding 2 percent of its gross domestic product for defense spending including purchasing eight F-16 aircraft.

“They buy a lot of military equipment from the United States — the best equipment in the world and I look forward to our meeting,” Trump said.

Borissov told Trump the people of Bulgaria expect for the Trump administration to allow the country to join the Visa Waiver Program, permitting travelers from member states to visit the United States for as many as 90 days without obtaining a non-immigrant visitor visa.

“The United States supports Bulgaria’s aspiration to join the Visa Waiver Program and welcomes Bulgaria’s continued progress toward meeting the statutory requirements for designation as a program partner,” the statement read.


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