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Bulgarian Defense Minister Happy after Talks with Robert Gates.

Bulgaria's Defense Minister Anyu Angelov has been welcomed by his US counterpart Robert Gates in Washington.

Angelov has expressed his satisfaction with the results of the meeting, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio.

The topic of his talks with the American Defense Secretary focused on the US missile defense in Europe and the geographic regions of the Black Sea and the Middle East.

The Bulgarian Defense Minister is on a six-day visit to the US. He is yet to meet with US Air Force Secretary Michael Donly, and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher.

Angelov is also expected to meet with senators, congressmen, representatives of the Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia. The delegation includes Permanent Defense Secretary Nikolay Milkov, Bulgaria's Ambassador to the United States Elena Poptodorova and Air Force Commander Major General Konstantin Popov.

Angelov's seven-day trip will be "the launch of technical negotiations about NATO's missile defence in Europe in general," the minister told journalists on Friday.

The minister said he will "seek very concrete information at a political level on the new US administration's approach to missile defense in Europe" and its contribution to the project, even though the country has not received an official invitation to host elements of the common defence system.

Bulgarian officials have repeatedly said they supports plans for taking part in a new US missile defence system in Europe, playing down Russian fears about the system.

Neighboring Romania has announced that it would host interceptor missiles as part of a US missile defense system on its soil.

The planned deployment in Bulgaria and Romania comes after US President Barack Obama scrapped plans for a radar and interceptor missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland, which Russia fiercely opposed as a national security threat and a blow on its nuclear deterrent.

The plans have drawn sharp criticism from Moscow, where officials described the earlier project to base radar and missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland as a threat to Russia.

Washington says the missile shield is designed to protect against short- and medium-range missiles from Iran, and is not directed against Russia.
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Date:Jun 29, 2010
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