Bulgaria won't 'negotiate with terrorists'

By NICOLAS BRULLIARD, United Press International

WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Minister Solomon Passy said his country's troops will remain in Iraq even if a body found Thursday is one of his countrymen.

At the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington Thursday, Passy said he regretted the "bad news" of the body's discovery, but Bulgaria will not respond to terrorist pressure to remove troops from Iraq.


"We're not going to negotiate with terrorists," he said. "We're not going to change our values. We're not going to change our foreign policy."

Georgi Lazov and Ivailo Kepov were taken hostage on July 8 and appeared on a video released by al-Jazeera on July 13. Lazov's decapitated body was found in the Tigris River July 15, while the other body believed to be Kepov's was found Thursday and pending formal identification.

Bulgaria has about 480 troops stationed in Karbala, southwest of Baghdad. Six Bulgarian soldiers have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq.

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