Prime Minister Grateful to Pope for Dismissing "Bulgarian Connection"

SOFIA, Bulgaria, MAY 26, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Prime Minister of Bulgaria publicly praised John Paul II for saying that he “never had doubts about us” in regard to the 1981 assassination attempt.

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Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was speaking to Vatican Radio about the Pope´s statement Friday, in which the Holy Father said he never believed in a “Bulgarian connection” behind the attack.

The theory of the Bulgarian link emerged when papal assailant Mehmet Ali Agca accused the Bulgarian Communist secret service of collaboration in the shooting in St. Peter´s Square. Agca later denied this accusation.

Although authorities in Italy were never able to prove the accusation, it weighed heavily for years on the Bulgarian national conscience. This is why the Holy Father´s words were received as a veritable liberation.

“This is so great for us that it is difficult to explain it,” said Simeon, a former king.

The former sovereign hopes that the Pope´s visit will contribute to give his country greater recognition by the European Union.

“Europe must see that we are also a European country, because sometimes people forget it,” the Prime Minister concluded.

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ZENIT Staff

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