Bulgaria's policy in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control is conditioned by our country's position as a responsible actor in international relations, and is in line with the commitments stemming from our EU and NATO membership.
- Disarmament and non-proliferation of WMD
The Republic of Bulgaria actively participates in all international legal instruments in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and disarmament. Priority for us is the implementation and universalization of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention, the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the start of the negotiation process within the Conference on Disarmament of a treaty banning fissile materials for the production of nuclear explosive devices.
Nuclear weapons and their means of delivery
We share the goal of creating a world without nuclear weapons. We view the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the foundation of the global system for nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and support efforts to universalize it. We believe that progress towards complete nuclear disarmament is only possible with the participation of all nuclear-weapon and technology-possessing States, taking into account both humanitarian and security aspects. We support a realistic, gradual approach, through the implementation of concrete, feasible steps on the path towards comprehensive, irreversible and verifiable nuclear disarmament.
We value the contribution of nuclear-weapon-free zones to strengthening the non-proliferation regime and nuclear disarmament. We express our support for making the Middle East a WMD-free zone.
The Republic of Bulgaria has been actively engaged in countering the use of chemical weapons since the negotiation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the establishment of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The national implementing body of the OPCW is the Inter-Ministerial Commission on Export Control and Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which includes a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bulgarian experts participate in OPCW field missions to verify the implementation of the Syrian Arab Republic's obligations to destroy chemical weapons. In 2014, the Republic of Bulgaria made a donation to the OPCW Trust Fund for the Destruction of Syrian Chemical Weapons.
Our country has taken an active stance in strongly condemning any use of chemical weapons in both peacetime and wartime. For this reason, we support the efforts of the international community to prevent, prosecute and sanction such acts.
In May 2018, our country also joined the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons.
- Conventional weapons
As a party to the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines, the Convention on Conventional Weapons and the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the Republic of Bulgaria is actively engaged in activities under these multilateral agreements and supports their universalization. A special focus is placed on discussions within the Convention on Conventional Weapons on new and evolving technologies, including the role of automated lethal defence systems in future conflicts.
Bulgaria's contribution in the field of limiting the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) identifies our country as one of the generators of regional cooperation and an important factor in international efforts to limit the excessive and destabilising concentration of SALW in conflict regions. The Republic of Bulgaria considers the implementation of a principled and responsible policy in this area as a priority task in the context of regional and international security.
The Republic of Bulgaria is a party to the Ottawa Convention since September 4, 1998. In accordance with the provisions of the Convention, as of October 31, 1999, all minefields on the country's territory were removed, and as of December 20, 2000, the available stocks of anti-personnel weapons were also destroyed. mines (a total of 881,970 units), and 4,000 units were reserved for educational and training purposes.
Among the priorities of the Bulgarian foreign policy in the field of disarmament was the resolution of the issue of anti-personnel landmines owned by the Armed Forces of the Hellenic Republic that remained on the territory of our country after the incident of 1 October 2014 in the warehouses of the Midzhur plant. As a result of the action taken, the transfer of all anti-personnel landmines back to Greek territory was carried out between 1 October and 20 November 2018. With this action, the Republic of Bulgaria is in full compliance with its obligations under the Ottawa Convention, and the Bulgarian Government has met the high public expectations for the final eradication of the consequences of the incident.
- Export controls on conventional arms and dual-use items and technology
In the area of export controls, the Republic of Bulgaria pursues a responsible and consistent policy, respecting its commitments under multilateral export control arrangements and taking into account international sanctions or restrictions imposed by the UN, the EU and the OSCE.
Our country has a fully established export control system for defence-related products and dual-use items and technologies that meets the highest European and global standards. The national legislation in this area includes the Law on Export Control of Defence Related Products and Dual-Use Items and Technologies and its Implementing Regulations. Export, import, transit, transfer and transport controls, as well as brokering of arms and dual-use items and technologies, are implemented at two levels: (1) the Interdepartmental Council for Defence Industry and Security of Supply under the Council of Ministers and (2) the Interdepartmental Commission for Export Control and Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs actively participates in both levels of the export control system.
Our country also participates in the following multilateral export control regimes: Australia Group, Wassenaar Arrangement, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime and Zangger Committee. We strictly apply in our export policy the requirements derived from the guiding rules and lists of weapons, goods and technology with possible dual use of the mentioned regimes.
Arms Trade Treaty
The Arms Trade Treaty is a legally binding international instrument that codifies international legal norms on arms control. The objectives of the Treaty are: To establish universally applicable international standards for the regulation of international trade in conventional arms, to prevent and suppress illicit trade, and to prevent the unauthorized diversion of conventional arms.
The process of developing an Arms Trade Treaty was initiated by the adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution 61/89 in 2006. The Republic of Bulgaria, together with other EU Member States, was one of the co-sponsors and co-sponsors of this resolution.
The treaty was signed by the Bulgarian side on 2 July 2013 in New York and on 2 April 2014 in New York. The Republic of Bulgaria handed in its instruments of ratification, thereby facilitating the entry into force of the Treaty on 24 December 2014
The Republic of Bulgaria was the Vice-Chair of the Third Conference of States Parties to the Treaty (September 2017, Geneva), which is defined as a key event in terms of the Treaty's transition to its substantive implementation and universalization phase.