- Title: BELGIUM/LIBYA: Bulgarian president praises EU solidarity over Bulgarian nurses
- Date: 2nd February 2007
- Summary: (CEEF) TRIPOLI, LIBYA (FILE - DECEMBER 19, 2006) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FIVE BULGARIAN NURSES AND PALESTINIAN DOCTOR SEATED IN COURT
- Embargoed: 17th February 2007 12:00
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVANC4MDE0NYW9DV3NCGP2576YA
- Story Text: The Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov has said he will call for bilateral talks with Tripoli to try and resolve the issue of Bulgarian nurses on death row in Libya.
Addressing the European Parliament on Thursday (February 1), Parvanov thanked the European Union for its support.
Before his address European Parliament President Hans Gert Poettering said the EU had adopted a resolution of support for the Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian medic charged with poisoning children with the HIV virus in a Libyan hospital.
The European parliament earlier this month urged EU states to review ties with Libya and step up pressure to secure the release of the six.
The European Commission has also urged Tripoli to consider new evidence in the case which Libya said would be heard in the Supreme Court.
"Yes we have discussed the Libyan issue and the president and Bulgaria, the people of Bulgaria has the total support of the European parliament and the president of the European parliament and we have adopted in Strasbourg the last time during our session a resolution that the people from Bulgaria which are in Libya are freed and we are in total solidarity with the Bulgarian people," Poettering said.
During the parliamentary session Parvanov praised the EU's help and solidarity on the issue.
"Finally I would like to speak on an issue that is important and painful both to Bulgarians and to all of you I believe; this is the issue of the fate of Bulgarian medics sentenced in Libya, predicting their rights became a cause not only for the Bulgarian society but for the international democratic community as well. What is particularly important to us is that only days after Bulgaria's accession to the European Union we could already rely on the solidarity of the whole EU on this issue. We would like to thank you for this solidarity and we hope that it is going to contribute to the just and speedy solution of this problem. We also appreciate the sympathy shown by European institutions," Parvanov said.
He added that more needed to be done whilst praising major oil companies for participating in the international fund set up to help the children of Ben Ghazi hospital.
He said Bulgaria is seeking further talks with Libya.
"Bulgaria will continue to contribute to this fund (international fund to help children of Ben Ghazi Hospital) and we shall make efforts to seek a bilateral dialogue with Libya with the European Commission with the presidency of the European Union. We are looking forward and we are expecting that the just solution to this will be a high priority in the European community," Parvanov said.
This highly politicised case started eight years ago and ended up in a Libyan court which in December sentenced five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor to death for starting an HIV epidemic in a hospital in the eastern town of Benghazi.
European Union newcomer Bulgaria and its allies in Brussels and Washington have decried the verdicts as unfair and have stepped up diplomatic pressure on Tripoli to release them.
A senior Bulgarian prosecutor said on Wednesday (January 31) that Bulgaria will try 11 Libyan police officers on charges of torturing the nurses to obtain confessions.
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