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Libya intervention driven by oil interest: Bulgaria PM

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(SOFIA) - The military intervention in Libya is an "adventure" driven by petroleum interests, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said Monday, explaining Sofia's caution over its support.

"We are not participating for the simple reason that (the allied campaign) does not have formulated objectives and ways to achieve them. I would not let our pilots into an adventure like this," Borisov told private TV7 television in an interview.

"Petrol and who will exploit Libya's oil fields are to a great extent the interests behind this operation."

"There are many African countries where hundreds of thousands were killed, where unrest is ongoing... But there are no operations conducted there," he added.

Borisov said that "a financial-economic blockade" would have forced Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi "to withdraw much faster."

Instead, the high risk of civilian casualties in the coalition air strikes on Libya prompted Sofia "to be very cautious even in the support that we are expressing," the prime minister said.

"I hope that today NATO will take over command so that at least we know who is in charge," he added.

Bulgaria already declared it could not join the military intervention as its Soviet-built MiG-21 and MiG-29 jet fighters were incompatible with NATO standards.

At the same time, Sofia has said it supports international efforts to enforce a UN Security Council resolution setting up a no-fly zone over the conflict-torn north African country, adding it was also ready to join humanitarian efforts in the region.

Speaking after talks in Zagreb with his Croatian counterpart Ivo Josipovic, Bulgarian President Georgy Parvanov also pressed for concerted NATO action on Libya.

"In my view there should have been a common NATO stance, hammered out before the strikes began and not now when the military intervention is already a fact," Parvanov was cited as saying by Bulgarian national radio.

"We should not allow the 'coalition of the willing' format to turn into a tradition," he said, referring to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 as "an exception."

"When it becomes a tendency, it is worth it to start considering the meaning and state of the alliance," Parvanov added.

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