A Bulgarian diplomatic cable to Bulgarian missions abroad, filed under number 55-00-52 / July 11 2008, demands from Bulgarian diplomats to work actively for the nomination of Irina Bokova as UNESCO Chief. In the cable, signed by the Chief of Staff of Minister G. Ganev, and in the attached biography of Bokova, she is presented as former foreign minister of Bulgaria.
A recent investigation of “Die Welt” revealed that Bokova has never led the foreign ministry. The media received official responses from the Bulgarian Parliament and the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry that she has never held the post.
“Ms. Bokova de facto could not at all be appointed foreign minister because in November 1996 the resignation of Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski was never tabled in Parliament by then-Prime Minister Zhan Videnov,” says the statement of the National Assembly. “Therefore, the Parliament never considered or voted the resignation of Mr. Pirinski as Minister of Foreign Affairs,” says the letter signed by the Speaker of the Parliament Tsetska Tsacheva.
After the publication, the official biography of Irina Bokova on the UNESCO site was updated and the word “acting” was added to the title foreign minister. However, numerous traces remain in other official sites where the Bulgarian incorrectly claimed that she was Foreign Minister of Bulgaria in 1996-1997 (see here, here, here and here).
The leaked cable reveals that besides Bokova herself, an official Bulgarian institution has also embellished her biography. This happened at the end of the term in office of the government of the Tripartite Coalition with Ivaylo Kalfin as Foreign Minister. The cable instructs Bulgarian diplomats to stress on this post as an important element of Irina Bokova’s biography, confirming her management experience. However, the truth is that Irina Bokova has never held any office in Bulgaria and has not been appointed Foreign Minister by the National Assembly.
Nowadays, the left-wing ABV Party, of which Ivaylo Kalfin (current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor and Social Policy) is now member, strongly supports the candidacy of Irina Bokova as Head of the United Nations and even threatened to withdraw its support for the government if Prime Minister Boyko Borisov fails to nominate her as the Bulgarian candidate for the post.
The position of current Foreign Affairs Minister Daniel Mitov in this case is reflected in his response to Die Welt: “Mrs. Irina Bokova has never been elected Foreign Minister by the Bulgarian Parliament as required by the Constitution. The post occupied by Ms. Bokova has been Acting Foreign Minister of Bulgaria.”
A few days ago, a classified cable of the Foreign Ministry leaked to the media. In it, the Bulgarian representative in UNESCO claims that H. E. Mr Michael Worbs, Ambassador of Germany to UNESCO and Chairman of the Executive Board of UNESCO had stressed strongly on the need to elect a new Director-General of UNESCO and the delay of Bulgaria’s official nomination was impeding the normal functioning of UNESCO, while the support of member countries of the United Nations Security Council for Irina Bokova was unanimous.
Bivol approached for comment on these claims the press office of UNESCO and the German Embassy in Sofia, but received no reply from either institution.
An investigation of our media revealed that Irina Bokova and her husband, Kalin Mitrev, have acquired in recent years two apartments in Manhattan for a total of $2.5 million (see here). Her son managed to repay a mortgage in the amount of $870,000 in just four years. In a television interview, Bokova explained that the money for the purchases came from bonuses received as Director General of UNESCO.
This information is quoted in detail in an article in International Affairs Forum, where Irina Bokova is described as member of the top communist nomenclature. The article further notes the gaffes she committed during her term in office as Director-General of UNESCO. “Bokova, the first ever female in the role, has unfortunately completely failed to rise to the hopes placed upon her. Instead, her term in office has been a woeful mix of amorality and amateurism, which has led the worthy organization to the brink of disrepair and disrepute,” UK journalist Patrick Dawson has written in 2013 in a report, quoted by the publication.
Bivol published earlier a confidential document of UNESCO, which shows that Bokova is responsible for the unlawful appointment to the post Assistant Director of the Organization of a person who did not have the necessary qualifications and diplomas. The investigation of the internal audit of UNESCO reveals that the job competition was manipulated with the active participation of the political office of Irina Bokova. Besides questions about the diploma of the candidate for the post, Ana Luiza Thompson-Flores, the Executive Board of UNESCO had suspected downright criminal acts such as destruction and forgery of documents in the official files for the high-ranking posts in Human Resources and Strategic Planning to which Bokova’s favorite has been appointed, conflicts of interest, leaked confidential information, improper manipulation of UNESCO’s own rules and procedures. The press office of the Organization, to which Bivol turned for comment on the leaked information, replied tersely that according to the rules of the Organization they could not comment and provide information about individual employees.
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