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Country Reports
Bulgaria, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


Mine Ban Policy

Bulgaria signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997, ratified on 4 September 1998, and the treaty took effect on 1 March 1999. Implementation legislation was enacted in 2001.[1]

Bulgaria participated in the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002, where its representative referred to the country’s agreement with Turkey to demine their common border.[2] Bulgaria attended the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003. On 22 November 2002, Bulgaria voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 57/74, which calls for universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.

Bulgaria submitted its annual Article 7 transparency report on 18 April 2003, which essentially reports no changes from the previous Article 7 report. This was the country’s fifth Article 7 Report.[3]

Bulgaria stopped export of antipersonnel mines in 1996 and production was halted in 1998. It completed destruction of its 885,872 stockpiled antipersonnel mines on 20 December 2000.[4]

As of 31 March 2003, Bulgaria was retaining 3,693 antipersonnel mines under Mine Ban Treaty Article 3. In February 2003, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told Landmine Monitor that the Army has “not used any of the retained antipersonnel mines for the education or training of personnel.”[5] Previously, from 1 March 2001 to 31 March 2002, Bulgaria expended 327 antipersonnel mines to train army engineers; this apparently included all training stocks of the PFM-1C.[6] Bulgaria initially declared that it would retain 10,446 mines, but later reduced this number to 4,000.

In February 2003, Landmine Monitor was informed that production of the TM-46 antivehicle mine, the only antivehicle mine in Bulgaria’s stockpile capable of being fitted with an antihandling device, had been discontinued. Existing stocks were decommissioned and are in the process of being destroyed.[7]

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told Landmine Monitor that the Army “participates in joint exercises with some neighboring countries not signatories of the Ottawa Convention, but no prohibited activities involving antipersonnel mines are planned or executed during the exercises.”[8] He said that the “Cornerstone-2002” military exercise that took place in Bulgaria from 25 May to 11 August 2002 did not involve the use of antipersonnel mines or any demining activities. Participants included Albania, Italy, Macedonia FYR, Romania, and non-States Parties Greece, Turkey, and the United States.[9]

Bulgaria is a member of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II, and attended the Fourth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II in December 2002. On 11 October 2002, Bulgaria submitted its Article 13 report as required by the Protocol. It also continues in its role as the coordinator of the work of the Group of Governmental Experts on mines other than antipersonnel mines.

Mine Action Assistance

In 2002 and the first half of 2003, Bulgaria did not receive or provide financial or other assistance for mine-related operations, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Landmine Monitor that in two years time the Army “could prepare and provide demining experts for training and monitoring of demining activities,” and in four or five years “a few demining units [platoon size] for operational needs and security of peace support operations.”[10] Bulgaria stated its readiness to assist in international mine clearance operations during the Fourth Meeting of States Parties.

An NGO named the Bulgarian Group for Demining was established in May 2002. It brings together professionals from the Bulgarian Army Reserve and police who have experience with mine/UXO clearance. In May 2003 the group issued a brochure aimed at people living near the border with Greece, informing them how to recognize mines and who to inform if one is found.[11]

[1] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 133.
[2] Statement by Ivan Piperkov, Head of Global Security and Disarmament Department, NATO and International Security Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 16-20 September 2002.
[3] Article 7 Report, 18 April 2003 (for the period 31 March 2002-31 March 2003); Article 7 Report, 22 April 2002 (for the period: 1 March 2001–31 March 2002); Article 7 Report, 1 March 2001 (for the period: 5 April 2000–1 March 2001); Article 7 Report, 5 April 2000 (for the period: 27 July 1999–5 April 2000); Article 7 Report, 27 August 1999 (for the period 1 March–27 August 1999).
[4] See Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 652.
[5] Email from Ivan Piperkov, Head of Global Security and Disarmament Department, NATO and International Security Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 7 February 2003.
[6] Article 7 Report, Form D, 30 April 2003; Landmine Monitor Report 2002, pp. 134-135.
[7] Email from Ivan Piperkov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 7 February 2003.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Email from Naiden Iliev, President of the Bulgarian Group for Demining, 25 July 2003.