Mark R. Koumans, Assistant Commissioner of the Office of International Affairs of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will visit Bulgaria on September 16-17. In addition to meeting with officials from the Ministry of Interior, Assistant Commissioner Koumans will visit the Bulgarian-Turkish border, where he will observe operations and discuss migration issues with Bulgarian Border Patrol officials.
“CBP’s primary mission is to secure America’s borders, facilitate legal trade and travel, and interdict illicit trade and travel,” Koumans said. “Bulgarian agencies have a similar mission, and it is in both countries’ interest to work together to keep our citizens safe.”
Assistant Commissioner Koumans is in Bulgaria to advance U.S.-Bulgarian bilateral cooperation through initiatives discussed during the visits of CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske to Sofia in May and Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Rumiyana Bachvarova to the United States in July. During both visits, Bulgarian and U.S. officials discussed potential areas of cooperation in addressing the refugee flows affecting Europe for the past several years.
“We look forward to working in partnership with the U.S. Embassy with the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior, Border Police and other authorities,” Koumans said. “As the United States’ largest law enforcement agency, we stand ready to share our experiences and best practices to assist our Bulgarian partners.”
With more than 60,000 employees, including 45,000 federal agents and officers, CBP is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the world. Its mission is to safeguard America’s borders thereby protecting the public from dangerous people and materials while enhancing the United States’ global economic competitiveness by enabling legitimate trade and travel. Among other responsibilities, Assistant Commissioner Koumans oversees assistance programs to support foreign partners through capacity building and technical assistance.