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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia, Bulgaria Split Over Iraq

ReutersBulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and President Vladimir Putin visiting the Shipka monument atop Mount Shipka on Monday.
SOFIA, Bulgaria --The presidents of Russia and Bulgaria pledged Monday to restore traditionally strong ties after more than a decade of post-communist cool-down. Still, the two leaders remained split on what to do about Iraq.

Vladimir Putin and Georgi Parvanov spoke at celebrations marking the 125th anniversary of the 1877-78 Russian-Turkish war, which ended five centuries of Ottoman rule in this Balkan country.

"Bolstered by everything good in our relations in the 19th and 20th century, we must think about the future," Putin said. "I am convinced that Russian-Bulgarian cooperation will be a considerable contribution in building a united, flourishing and independent Europe."

Putin and Parvanov, however, did not manage to bridge differences over Iraq.

After talks with Parvanov, Putin said Russia's and Bulgaria's positions on the conflict "do not coincide fully," but added that every state was free to define its foreign policy.

Putin and Parvanov addressed a crowd gathered near the Mount Shipka, the scene of one of the most dramatic battles of the Liberation War.