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Bulgaria: NATO Worried By Possible Appointment Of Former Spy

Sofia, 4 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A NATO spokesman says the possible appointment of a former communist intelligence agent to a security post in the Bulgarian government is "a matter of great interest to all the countries in the alliance," Bulgarian newspapers reported. The remark by Robert Pseschel appears to be yet another warning from the West that Prime Minister Simeon Saxecoburggotski may be jeopardizing his country's chances of joining the alliance if he appoints former communist spy Brigo Asparuhov as his security adviser.

Asparuhov spent years working for Bulgarian intelligence under the former communist regime.

James Pardew, the U.S. ambassador to Sofia, last month said the appointment of Asparuhov would be a "significant decision" that would "diminish the credibility of the country among the members of the alliance." Britain also expressed its concern this week.

Bulgaria is one of seven former communist countries scheduled to join NATO next year.