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Bulgaria says will not join UN migration pact

The non-binding pact lays down 23 objectives to open up legal migration and better manage migratory flows.

A view of the Secretariat Building, with a flag flying in the foreground, at United Nations headquarters in New York. Picture: United Nations Photo.

SOFIA - Bulgaria’s government confirmed on Wednesday that it would not join the United Nations pact for better regulating worldwide migration, set to be adopted later in December.

“The government decided that Bulgaria will abstain from joining the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” said a government statement.

Bulgaria would not send representatives to the 10-11 December conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, at which the pact is set to be formally adopted, the statement added. And it would abstain at the UN general assembly vote to affirm the pact.

The non-binding pact lays down 23 objectives to open up legal migration and better manage migratory flows. The number of people on the move worldwide has increased to 250 million, or 3% of the world population.

The US quit talks on the pact last December, and several countries including Hungary, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Australia also rejected it.

Joining the pact would contradict Bulgaria’s national interest, the country’s conservative government said on Wednesday. It vowed to stand by its international commitments to observe human rights while also exercising heightened control of its borders.

When the government first hinted it might reject the pact in November, analysts accused Premier Boyko Borisov of caving in to pressure from junior coalition partners the anti-immigrant United Patriots.

The Balkan country, which lies at the European Union’s external border with Turkey, has built a fence to stop incoming migrants. Anti-immigrant sentiment remains strong among its impoverished population.