The Hon. Dr. Solomon Isaac Passy (Former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria)

28.05.2010 - Interview conducted by Maureen Wiley


Q1. You were awarded the first Balkan Peace Award by the South East European Journalist's Union for your contribution to peace in the region, as well as The American Jewish Committee’s Distinguished Statesman award, among others. What has been the driving force behind your advancement of peace and democracy?

It is always a big pleasure for any politician or person to receive awards, but what brings the big satisfaction are the achievements that are attributed to your own country, or region, before the awards. I, myself, grew up during the Communist era and my childhood was deprived of democracy and freedom. That's why I wanted to secure for my children something that I was deprived of. 

Q2. When considering NATO’s stabilizing role within Afghanistan, what role do you see Provincial Reconstruction Teams playing now that NATO has begun to allow Afghani Officials more power to govern their own people?

Our final goal is to give the ownership of Afghanistan to the Afghanis, and the Provincial Reconstruction Teams are only a vehicle to that end. We are not in a hurry to leave Afghanistan, but we are not planning to stay there indefinitely. I would like to underline our strong wish to engage more and more Afghanis in ruling their own country. It is their business at the end of the day, not ours. But we are ready to help them in the meantime. 

Q3. Having occupied Afghanistan in the past, what unique role, if any, can Russia now play, alongside NATO, in stabilizing Afghanistan?

Russia could play a major rule in our future efforts in Afghanistan. Unfortunately Russia still has complexes from the past history it had with Afghanistan. We can help Russia to overcome these complexes. NATO does not regard Russia as an enemy or as a threat. That's why Russia is our potential partner in executing all of the major projects that we could have in terms of security, and Afghanistan is a very good example of that. 

Q4. Given their interests in Afghanistan and surrounding countries, Russia and China are two of the most important political actors within Central Asia. Both countries have begun to sign agreements with rising economic powers such as Brazil and India. To what extent do you think cultural diplomacy will play a key role in facilitating successful dialogue between such countries, especially given how diverse they are?

Cultural diplomacy as a whole and the ICD, in particular, could play an important role in this process. Firstly NATO will have to realise that the countries from Partnership for Peace, Russia included, should be regarded as our future members. That's why an open-ended invitation to all PFB countries to join NATO will be very healthy for the whole peace process around the globe. Secondly, NATO should open a new chapter of relations with China. In that regard, the establishment of a NATO-China council or a form of a similar magnitude would be very helpful for our future relations on the one hand, and on the other hand would be very helpful for essential relations between NATO and the United Nations Security Council. We shouldn't be afraid of the co-operation between Russia, China, Brazil, India etc. etc. but, on the contrary we should support such forms of co-operation between all these country, and of course we should take the leadership to bringing each of these countries into our orbit.