Government in Skopje must act responsibility to restore confidence, Bulgarian FM tells counterpart

Government in Skopje must act responsibility to restore confidence, Bulgarian FM tells counterpart

Sofia, May 11, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe

The political stability of FYR Macedonia and the preservation of its territorial integrity is particularly important for Bulgaria, Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov said in a May 11 telephone conversation with his counterpart in Skopje, Nikola Poposki.

In turn, Poposki briefed Mitov on the current situation in FYR Macedonia, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said.

The call took place against a background of a prolonged political crisis in FYR Macedonia, including the protests and controversies over alleged illegal wiretapping and abuse of power by the government, and the May 9 armed clash in Kumanovo between police and a group of gunmen which left a reported 22 people, including eight police, dead.

According to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, Mitov said that the lack of dialogue with the opposition was creating a political vacuum that was leading to instability from which elements and groups that aim to destabilise FYR Macedonia were benefitting.

The domestic political crisis requires responsible action by the government so that public confidence in the work of institutions could be restored, Mitov said.

The Bulgarian Foreign Minister emphasised the urgent need to restore the rule of law, for which the government was primarily responsible. It should ensure a transparent investigation of what happened, in accordance with European standards, Mitov said in reference to the Kumanovo clash on May 9 in which eight police and 14 gunmen died and several people were injured.

Mitov “emphatically underlined” the crucial importance of safeguarding the civil and ethnic peace in FYR Macedonia, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry statement said.

He assured his Macedonian counterpart that Bulgaria was ready to contribute to this at bilateral level and within the efforts of the European Union.

Earlier, it was announced that a planned visit to Sofia on May 11 by FYR Macedonia’s deputy prime minister for European affairs had been cancelled because of the Kumanovo incident. The official from Skopje had been scheduled to hold talks with Mitov.