June 11-12, 2006

(Communicatec by the President’s Office)

Within the framework of the State Visit of the President of Israel, Mr. Moshe Katsav, to Bulgaria, on the invitation of the President of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov, a mutual agreement was signed for the cancellation of visas.  The agreement was signed in the presence of both Presidents at the end of the working meeting which the President of Israel held with his host in the Presidential Place in Sofia.

The President of Israel and his wife were received in Sofia with a full state ceremony. President Katsav placed a wreath on the grave of the unknown soldier and met with the President of the Republic of Bulgaria alone and in a working meeting.

The two Presidents noted the good relations existing between the countries, and discussed at length the security situation in the Middle East and in the Balkan countries.

The President of Israel told his host that "The Jewish people do not forget that Bulgaria open its gates to the exiles from Spain and Portugal in the 15th century and that for many years it maintained its policy of tolerance towards the Jews." The President noted especially the saving of European Jews by the Bulgarian people, the Bulgarian parliament and the church during the Second World War.

At the conclusion of the working meeting with his host in the Presidential Place in Sofia, a mutual visa waiver agreement was signed.

Within the framework of an economic seminar in which the President of Israel, Mr. Moshe Katsav, and the President of Bulgaria, Mr. Georgi Parvanov, participated, the two Presidents said that a great potential exists for economic cooperation based on the relations between the two countries.

The President of Bulgaria reported that in Bulgaria a new law was enacted which encourages investment and that now there is no difference between a foreign investor and a local one.  A foreign investor has special incentives, such as in regions with a high level of unemployment no company tax is paid for a period of 5 years.

The meeting was organized with the participation of the President of Israel, Mr. Moshe Katsav, and under the auspices of the Ministry of  Foreign Affairs.  An Israeli delegation  participated, most of them from the fields of property, agriculture, communications and hi-tech.  Present were also approximately 100 Bulgarian companies in these fields.  

The President of Israel also met with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Sergei Stanishev. The two discussed at length the situation in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon and the prospects of the political process in the Middle East.