[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
LANGUAGES
Russian
Polish
Albanian
Greek
Serbian
Turkish
More
Last Updated: Thursday, 16 October, 2003, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Bulgarian ex-spy turns down aide post
Simeon Saxe-Coburg
Saxe-Coburg insists only he can choose advisers
Nato has welcomed a Bulgarian former Communist-era spy chief's decision not to take up a position as security advisor to the prime minister.

General Brigo Asparukhov, who worked for Bulgarian intelligence for more than two decades when it was an ally of the Soviet Union, announced on Wednesday that he was no longer interested in the post.

His planned appointment had been strongly criticised by Nato, the United States and Britain, which said he would compromise the security of the western alliance.

Announcing the decision, Bulgarian Government spokesman Dimitar Tsonev said Mr Asparukhov did not want to harm Sofia's bid to join Nato and the European Union.

He "did not want his name to be linked to eventual obstacles in the process of Bulgaria's integration to the Euro-Atlantic structures", according to the spokesman.

Mr Asparukhov added that he had been the target of "illegitimate attacks" and "lies", the spokesman said.

Bulgaria is expected to join Nato along with seven other eastern European countries next year.

It is also a candidate for EU membership, hoping to join with Romania in 2007.

Resignations

Mr Asparukhov, 58, worked for Bulgarian intelligence for 25 years during the Communist era.

He gave up his post as an MP for the Socialist Party - formerly the Communists - to join Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg's office, but his nomination was delayed because of opposition both at home and abroad.

Mr Saxe-Coburg has insisted that only he can decide who to appoint as adviser.

But two members of his own party have resigned over the issue.

Correspondents say that Bulgaria is keen to prove itself a reliable partner for Washington which gave it vital backing for its bid to join Nato.

Another Nato hopeful, Slovakia, sacked its security agency chief, Jan Mojzis, earlier this month despite Nato concerns that security might be compromised.


SEE ALSO:
Bulgarian spy chief looks ahead
28 Jun 03  |  From Our Own Correspondent
Bulgaria's divided loyalties
07 Mar 03  |  From Our Own Correspondent
Flashback: Dissident's poisoning
08 Jan 03  |  UK News
Bulgaria dreams of distant union
02 Dec 02  |  Europe
Timeline: Bulgaria
06 Mar 03  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Bulgaria
06 Jun 03  |  Country profiles


RELATED BBCi LINKS:


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific