Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov announced on Facebook that he met today with the Special Representative of the Government of North Macedonia Vlado Buckovski. He concluded by underlining that, in order to restore trust, the obligations set out by the Good Neighborliness Agreement must be met.
“The present and future generations will not forgive Bulgaria or the Republic of North Macedonia for not finding a compromise that gives perspective. It is important that mutual trust returns to the strict and irreversible fulfillment of all obligations under the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation. Bulgaria has made every effort to involve the countries of the Western Balkans in NATO and the EU, which is why we had raised the issue as a priority during our Presidency of the Council of the EU. I made this clear during my meeting earlier today in Sofia with the Special Envoy of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia for Bulgaria, Vlado Buckovski,” Borissov wrote on Facebook.
In the uploaded video, Borissov tells Buckovski that “something happened 6 months ago; maybe the elections in your country, our internal problems, there’s Covid that turned the whole world upside down. North Macedonia is a sovereign state and can decide for itself which language it wants to speak. We in Bulgaria decided to speak Bulgarian and so that is what we speak. In North Macedonia you can decide how you want to speak and no one can manipulate you and force you into choosing which language you use. Nobody asked you to do this, especially me.”
As he said, two issues frightened Bulgarian citizens: sovereignty and the Bulgarian minority. “I shall convey these questions to Prime Minister Zaev and President Pendarovski. Let the historians do their job; we have several years ahead of us to find solutions. Posterity will never forgive us if we fail to give them perspective now,” Borissov told Buckovski. He was surprised by a statement from his friend Zoran Zaev accusing him of working to increase his personal popularity and that Bulgaria had not complied with the Friendship Agreement.
Buckovski reiterated the position of the government of North Macedonia that “our constitutional name of the Republic of Northern Macedonia does not mean that we have territorial claims; non-interference in your internal affairs is part of the Friendship Agreement and we will respect it. Let the historians do their job.”
Buckovski was later received by President Rumen Radev.
Radev said that the European integration of the Republic of North Macedonia does not require attempts at influence and pressure through third countries, but rather the achievement of tangible results in the bilateral dialogue with Bulgaria. One of the priorities of the German rotating EU presidency, which expires at the end of the year, is to move to Skopje. Berlin has repeatedly called for a solution, condemning the Bulgarian veto.
“Bulgaria has never questioned the democratic right of the citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia to self-determination, but the identity of one country cannot be constructed on the basis of hatred for another, especially a fraternal country,” the president said.
According to the Bulgarian head of state, the abolishment of hate speech against Bulgaria in North Macedonia and the change in the content of textbooks will significantly contribute to building good neighborly relations. /ibna