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Bulgaria to replace more 'ex-spy' ambassadors


Bulgaria's government proposed on Wednesday replacing five more foreign ambassadors as part of a move to purge its diplomatic corps of former agents of the communist-era secret services.

Those targeted notably include new envoys to Russia and Spain, as well as new appointments in Morocco, Pakistan and Syria, the foreign ministry said.

Embarrassing revelations by a special archives committee last year showed that 40 per cent of the country's foreign ambassadors were former agents or collaborators of the communist Darzhavna Sigurnost secret police.

But opposition from the then Socialist president Georgy Parvanov blocked all foreign ministry moves to get rid of the former spies.

His replacement on January 22 by right-winger Rosen Plevneliev, who supports the government's efforts, already allowed the replacement last week of 17 ex-spy foreign diplomats with more to follow in the coming weeks.

Bulgaria's foreign ministry envisages a total overhaul of the country's diplomatic corps this year, gradually replacing 60 of its 80 ambassadors abroad.