- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ON THE ATTACK

An immigrant-bashing politician and cable TV talk-show host in Bulgaria is accusing U.S. Ambassador James Warlick of threatening him when he demanded that the United States pay rent for the use of Bulgarian military bases.

Volen Siderov, leader of the ultranationalist Ataka Party, also is calling on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to recall Mr. Warlick.

Mr. Siderov’s dispute with Mr. Warlick angered Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, while Deputy Prime Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov questioned Mr. Siderov’s sobriety.

Mr. Siderov, who hosts a talk show called “Attack,” disclosed his letter to Mrs. Clinton on Tuesday on the website of his political party, the name of which translates into English also as “Attack.”

He described a confrontation with Mr. Warlick in a restaurant in the capital, Sofia, last week.

Mr. Siderov said he approached the ambassador and presented him with what he called a “bill” for about $1.4 billion in rent that his party calculated the United States should pay for using four Bulgarian military bases.

He claimed the ambassador responded with threats to “destroy” him.

“As a member of the National Assembly of Bulgaria and chairman of a political party, Ataka, I want to inform you of the improper conduct of his excellency James Warlick,” Mr. Siderov wrote in his letter to Mrs. Clinton.

He claimed that Mr. Warlick threw his rent bill onto another table and said “loudly several times, and I quote, ‘I will destroy you.’ “

“I was extremely surprised and asked him, ‘You will destroy me?’ at which point Warlick replied, ‘The U.S. will destroy you.’ “

The U.S. Embassy dismissed Mr. Siderov’s actions as a “cheap political stunt.”

“The U.S. Embassy does not endorse the ideas of hatred, prejudice and bigotry that Mr. Siderov and Attack stand for,” it added.

In a 2005 diplomatic cable, the embassy described Ataka as “strongly anti-U.S.” and noted that Mr. Siderov is “openly anti-Semitic.”

Mr. Siderov, 55, has blamed ethnic minorities in Bulgaria for the country’s poor economic conditions and accused them of receiving too generous benefits from the state.

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