THE STATE WILL NOT FORBID TRANSPORT TO IRAQ
The government has no intention to ban transport courses to Iraq and other dangerous regions, the Minister of Transport Nikolay Vassilev announced after meeting representatives of transport companies on July 20. However, the Ministry of Transport will tighten the preventive control over truck drivers who go on the dangerous courses. All truck drivers who cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border will be asked to sign a declaration claiming that the state and the employer have informed him about the risks he faces by going to a dangerous destination. The document is not obligatory and has no legal value. By no means does the declaration relieve the state of the responsibility for its citizens, Minister Vassilev underlined. The drivers and the Car Administration Executive Agency will exchange information about the situation in the regions to which drivers go. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will publish on its site updated information about the level of danger related to each of the routes. The transport ministry recommended that all transport companies provide the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a full list of the names of their drivers and the exact routes that they will go on. In case of a potential threat, this will help the authorities to take adequate measures to withdraw the Bulgarian citizens and guarantee their safety.Currently, the Car Administration Executive Agency has no information about the number of courses to Iraq and the companies that carry them out, because transportation to that destination is made without permission, the agency's director Nikolay Tochev said. According to the Deputy Chairman of the National Union of Bulgarian Carriers Krassimir Lalov, courses to Northern Kurdistan are most frequently made now. Deliveries are unloaded in the economic zone, which is located ten kilometres away from Iraq. All other courses that cross the Iraqi border are illegal, Mr. Lalov claimed. They are fulfilled by carriers whose trucks do not meet the European ecological requirements and cannot travel to countries in the European Union. In order to avoid bankruptcy, they take up these courses of high risk. Members of the union underlined that about one thousand Turkish companies are now travelling to Iraq and if Bulgarian transporters leave these routes, they will immediately be occupied by their competitors.