Foreign ministers of Bulgaria, North Macedonia urge historians to finalise work on shared history

Foreign ministers of Bulgaria, North Macedonia urge historians to finalise work on shared history

The foreign ministers of Bulgaria and of North Macedonia, Ekaterina Zaharieva and Nikola Dimitrov, want historians from the two countries working on a joint commission to speed up their work and reach decisions by the end of the year on important topics in common history, including the content of textbooks.

This is according to a Bulgarian Foreign Ministry statement on June 28, after Zaharieva and Dimitrov held talks in Sofia on the sidelines of a Black Sea Economic Co-operation foreign ministers meeting.

Zaharieva discussed the results of the first meeting of the Bulgarian-North Macedonian joint intergovernmental commission, as well as the meeting of the joint commission on historical and educational issues, to be held in September 2019, the Foreign Ministry said.

The two ministers discussed the European integration of the Republic of North Macedonia in the context of the expectations that Skopje and Tirana will get a decision to start negotiations for EU membership in October.

Bulgaria supports the aspirations of the Republic of North Macedonia for EU membership but will strictly monitor the implementation of the bilateral Partnership, Neighborhood and Co-operation Treaty throughout the Republic of North Macedonia’s negotiation process with the EU, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said.

In the past two years, relations between Bulgaria and North Macedonia have become markedly more cordial, especially with the ratifications by the two countries’ legislatures of the good-neighbourliness treaty.

However, there has been a stumbling block recently in the joint historical commission on views of the 19th century revolutionary Gotse Delchev. Amid the tussle over Delchev, some senior Bulgarian politicians, including the Prime Minister, have warned North Macedonia against attempting to “steal” Bulgaria’s history./ibna

(Photo of Nikola Dimitrov and Ekaterina Zaharieva on June 28 2019: Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)