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Monday, 30 December 2013 10:55

Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of Bulgaria - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Bulgaria to Azerbaijan Maya Khristova

Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of Bulgaria - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Bulgaria to Azerbaijan Maya Khristova

“Last year in 2012 Bulgaria and Azerbaijan had their anniversary of 20 years of their diplomatic relations, so this is showing actually that relationships between our two countries are maintained for a long time. They have been always positive from the historical, economical and political points of view and for me it is a great honor to hold this position exactly in this country”, Maya Khristova, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Bulgaria to the Republic of Azerbaijan, said in her exclusive interview with First Class.

First Class (FC): What encouraged you to choose a diplomatic career?

Maya Khristova, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Bulgaria to the Republic of Azerbaijan: Prior to my appointment as an ambassador I had been a deputy minister of energy in our government and I had also been an executive director of the Bulgarian Energy Holding, which is managing the activities of all the Bulgarian state own companies. I was also a chairman of the board of South Stream Bulgaria, and a representative in  the Steering Committee Nabucco.  My previous career was  engaged with energy. Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of Bulgaria due to some activities that Bulgaria currently carries out in this field. Bulgaria is a shareholder of the Nabucco West project and also Bulgaria is planning to construct gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Turkey. For the two projects it is expected that the gas source will come from Azerbaijan: one of the sources  from “Shah Deniz 2” related to the Nabucco West project and another one from Azerbaijan via the company SOCAR.

 

FC: What are the positive and negative sides of this work?

Maya Khristova: So far I cannot see negative sides.  It is very important to increase and improve the bilateral relations between the two countries.  I could say only positive things about Bulgaria and Azerbaijan so far. I was very warmly welcomed in Azerbaijan, I have excellent relations with the institutions, ministries and organizations which are in Azerbaijan as well as with  the  diplomatic corpus which is based here. So I can see a lot of positive people here who are willing and want to do their best. Last year in 2012 Bulgaria and Azerbaijan had their anniversary of 20 years of their diplomatic relations, so this is showing actually that relationships between our two countries are maintained for a long time. They have been always positive from the historical, economical and political points of view and for me is a great honor to hold this position exactly in this country.

 

FC: Where were you born and spent your childhood? Where did you study?

Maya Khristova: I was born in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria so actually most of the years I spent in Bulgaria. I also used to live in Great Britain some year ago about 5 years. It was very interesting period. I studied in Sofia. I have a master degree from the Sofia Economy University. I also have a law bachelor degree also from the Sofia Economy University. I have many specializations which were taken in Scotland and in USA for microeconomics and financial management.

 

FC: What languages do you speak and whether you plan to learn Azerbaijani language?

Maya Khristova: I speak English, Russian, and of course Bulgarian as it is my mother language. I would say I speak a little bit Serbian.  It would be very interesting to learn Azerbaijani. It is a little bit different from our language but what I understood it is very close to the Turkish language.

 

FC: What kind of impression did Baku and the country make on you?

Maya Khristova: For the first time I visited Baku in 2011.  I was really impressed because Baku is a wonderful city. I mean it`s developed very well, looks very much European, you can get here everything you really need. There are a lot of nice buildings, renovated and new ones, hotels, boulevards and during the night Baku is really remarkable because it is very lightened.  The city simply glares in evenings. My impression of Baku is increasing anytime, because there is always something to discover, something new is going on and I definitely think that Azerbaijan and Baku are providing lots of opportunities.

 

FC: Which similar and different features do you find when comparing Azerbaijan with your country?

Maya Khristova: Actually the cities are different, and when you are talk about your home city you always have the special feelings.  It doesn`t matter where you are in the world, it will still remain the most loved and the most special for a person.  On the other hand they are similar from the point of view population, the size of the cities.  I mean the Bulgarian population is 7.5 million, here  about 9 million. The territory is almost the same.  Also the population of Sofia is 2 million of people like in Baku. So in terms of these parameters the cities are very comparable. Otherwise Sofia has big mountains, and no sea. Our sea is located on the east side of Bulgaria.  There is no high mountains here, Baku has a sea. So from the natural point of view they are different but they both very beautiful, with their own specifics. Sofia is also developing very fast and also is a very modern city, very European. I can say that architectural styles are different, but in both you can see that they are capitals, they are full of life, with many young people and opportunities.

 

FC: Which regions of Azerbaijan have you already visited? Where did you like it most?

Maya Khristova: I`ve been so far to Sheki. Sheki is a very nice city, a small one, but very cozy. It is also very interesting. I understood that it has a brother city with one of our cities which calls Gabrovo in Bulgaria. The common thing between two cities are that people in both have very good sense of humor, that they are very hospitable, very friendly. Sheki is surrounded by very nice nature, by mountains and has an interesting historical part. I saw there the Sheki Khan Palace. I would like definitely to visit more places in Azerbaijan and probably one of my first places will be Cabala.

 

FC: What is it that you are mostly afraid of in your life?

Maya Khristova: I could say that I am quite a brave person. I am not really afraid very much of anything. Of course everyone worries about family members. From other side we all want to live in peace, nobody wants wars, nobody wants  victims, situations where people suffer I think that if everyone tries to bring something to make this world better would be  a great achievement.

 

FC: Which feature of your character do you dislike?

Maya Khristova: I can`t say that I don’t like, but I am a very disciplined person and I would like everything to happen in right order. And also I expect that people will respond  the same way.   I try to help whenever I can and for whatever I can. But I would expect also  people to be  disciplined and to provide their best.

 

FC: What do you value in men and women?

Maya Khristova: It is very important to be an honest and to have trust. Then things like knowledge or something else –  could be learned in addition,  could be improved. But the loyalty and honesty these are things which you have or not.   I also value people who are more open, with a nice sense of humor, which are easy going, more friendly, more smiling. more.

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