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US Embassy: Bulgarian President Bad for Army - Wikileaks.

A recently leaked cable from former US ambassador to Sofia Nancy McEldowney has revealed her poor opinion of Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov's cadre choices for top army commanders.

The message, dated July 2009, is subjected "New Chief of Defense, Old Mindset," and takes issue with the appointment of General Simeon Simeonov as Chief of Defense by Parvanov.

According to McEldowney, Gen. Simeonov is a "classic, myopic bureaucrat," who failed to reform and innovate the Bulgarian Air Force under his command.

The American diplomat attributes the appointment to Simeonov's close relations with Gen. Nikola Kolev, President Parvanov's cabinet chief.

"The nomination of Simeonov for a three-year term as the new CHOD elicited groans throughout the international defense community in Sofia. Widely perceived as a failure in his previous position, the appointment was criticized in the media and scoffed at privately by Bulgarian career military officials," reads the cable.

McEldowney similarly bewails the then-recent appointment of Gen. Atanas Samandov as Joint Operations Commander and Gen. Volodya Tsvetanov as the Chief Inspector, alleging that both are "considered corrupt."

The US ambassador nevertheless points out that within the total of 30 senior army appointments there are some "good" and "promising" choices, and that Bulgaria is sure to further its military cooperation with the USA.

On the other hand, ambassador McEldowney summarizes by criticizing the overall "unconstructive" influence of President Georgi Parvanov over Bulgaria's military.

"Progress on planning, training and procurement reform will depend on the next Defense Minister who will need to battle with the entrenched interests of the Presidency and its allies," writes the US envoy.

Current Bulgarian Minister of Defense Anyu Angelov has indeed entered in a handful of disputes with President Parvanov over some appointments of senior army officers.

The diplomatic cable was leaked May 05, on the eve of St. George's Day, which is also Army Day in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Constitution has the President as the supreme army commander.

For the full text of the cable read HERE. The note has also been published by Bulgarian sites and
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Geographic Code:4EXBU
Date:May 8, 2011
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