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Bulgaria Table of Contents


Military Cooperation and Exchanges

Bulgaria had fewer military contacts with developing countries than did its Warsaw Pact allies, instead stressing economic, agricultural, and technological exchanges. Military cooperation with developing countries occurred primarily as part of assistance programs to Soviet allies rather than as an independent policy.

Beginning in the late 1970s, Bulgaria developed military relations with several key countries in the Middle East and Africa. By the mid-1980s, friendship treaties were in effect with Angola, Ethiopia, Libya, Mozambique, and Syria--all of which were receiving substantial military aid from the Soviet Union. These treaties mentioned unspecified military cooperation between the two signatories. In the 1980s, the Bulgarian minister of national defense paid official visits and received military delegations of developing countries without further elaboration of those terms. During this period, Bulgaria also had limited military relations with several developing countries that were not Soviet client states, including India, Nigeria, and Zambia.

More recently, Bulgaria extended its policy of military cooperation to immediate neighbors. In 1987 and 1988, Bulgaria and Greece exchanged visits by the chiefs of their respective general staffs. In 1990 the National Assembly ordered several units of special troops deployed to the Persian Gulf. Over 270 troops, consisting of a medical team, chemical defense company, and rear services unit, supported the United States-led coalition that forced the Iraqi army to withdraw from Kuwait in February 1991. In November 1990, the Bulgarian General Staff sent a delegation to Turkey, signaling a decisive warming of relations with that traditional enemy. In 1991 a Bulgarian-Turkish nonaggression pact was discussed, but Bulgaria feared that a bilateral treaty would damage its close relations with Greece.

Data as of June 1992