19:58 GMT03 June 2020
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Bulgaria is ready to establish a coordination centre for NATO ships in the Black Sea in the port city of Varna, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday at a joint press conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.

    "Yes, we discussed this [coordination] centre and, of course, I take note of the Bulgarian offer to host the centre for maritime coordination in the Black Sea," Stoltenberg said, adding that the bloc appreciates Bulgaria's strong focus on Black Sea security and stability in the region.

    At the same time, Borissov stressed that this coordination centre would play a "deterrence role."

    This coordination function is currently the responsibility of the NATO maritime headquarters in the United Kingdom.

    In addition, Stoltenberg praised Bulgaria's contribution to collective security and support for different NATO missions and operations, including Bulgaria's troop deployment in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

    In late November, the US-Bulgaria strategic partnership published a joint statement confirming that Washington and Sofia would be working together to construct a NATO coordination centre in Varna, which will monitor the security situation in the Black Sea region.

    Boyko Borissov, Bulgaria, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO
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