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.
Saxe-Coburg insists only he can choose advisers
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.
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.