Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva raised the issue of full implementation of the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation with the Republic of North Macedonia before the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country, Bujar Osmani.
In a phone communication with Osmani, Ekaterina Zaharieva reaffirmed Bulgaria’s consistent support for the European integration of the Republic of North Macedonia, stressing that good neighborly relations and compliance with the Treaty constitute key conditions for progress towards the country’s European integration.
“During the Bulgarian presidency of the EU Council, we made great efforts to return the issue of enlargement to the EU agenda, as well as the decision to commence accession negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Albania. As you know, Bulgaria has always been and remains one of the most consistent supporters of the European integration of the Republic of North Macedonia, but our support is not unconditional”, Minister Zaharieva stressed.
She expressed hope that the work of the Joint Historical Committee, which was suspended by Skopje due to the elections, would resume as soon as possible. The Bulgarian Foreign Minister stressed that the commission’s work should not be politicized.
Minister Bujar Osmani reaffirmed his support for the compliance with the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation with Bulgaria and pledged to familiarize himself with the possibilities of restarting the work of the committee. He thanked Bulgaria for its assistance in the context of the coronavirus pandemic – both for the repatriation of thousands of citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia through the territory of Bulgaria and for providing humanitarian aid.
The two ministers discussed the situation around the outbreak of Covid-19, as well as the negative impact upon citizens and businesses. Ekaterina Zaharieva stressed that Bulgaria firmly endorses the establishment of common criteria for controlling the EU’s internal borders in the context of the pandemic, and will launch a discussion on such a decision by the European Commission.
The two interlocutors also tapped upon the forthcoming Summit under the joint chairmanship of the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans, to take place in Sofia in November. /ibna