North Macedonia: Negotiations with Bulgaria intensify, in anticipation of exchange of proposals for an Action Plan

North Macedonia: Negotiations with Bulgaria intensify, in anticipation of exchange of proposals for an Action Plan

The Foreign Ministers of North Macedonia and Bulgaria agreed in the coming days to exchange proposals from both sides on the Action Plan for the implementation of the obligations of the 2017 Friendship Agreement, in order to find a way to strengthen its implementation and effectiveness.

Thus, they expect the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to restore confidence in the Agreement and the dialogue process between the two countries to resolve the differences and to announce that Special Representative Vlado Buckovski will travel frequently to Bulgaria to monitor the Action Plan and to encourage cooperation at all levels.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminds that during the regular communication between the two sides there is a constant exchange of views and ideas and that both sides often share their proposals and views in which they point out and explain their positions.

“The last in the series is the Action Plan for the implementation of the obligations arising from the Friendship Agreement of 2017, which is a proposal from us (North Macedonia), and for which we expect to receive a response and/or comments and suggestions from the “Republic of Bulgaria”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani said yesterday that “we can not see the neighbors with the same glasses from the past and added that the only solution and formula for Bulgaria is to return to the principle of the Agreement, but also to find mechanisms to do make it faster, more dynamic for creating results”.

In an interview with Radio Free Europe, he said that now that we are entering into another alliance with other NATO and EU countries, such as Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, we can not see the world with the same glasses.

According to him, the differences in the expectations for the speed of implementation, for the dynamics, for the purposes of the implementation of the Agreement are questionable.

“I believe that the agreement may not be precisely defined here, because the agreement does not provide for time dynamics, nor does the agreement provide for certain benchmarks that need to be implemented in a specific period. Here it is left to the goodwill of the two countries to overcome differences and find common ground together in a new alliance, such as NATO and the EU. Here on these precisely defined issues, everyone has different expectations and these expectations obviously create turmoil and stress in people, in countries, because everyone wants to have predictability in the process”, Osmani said.

Osmani pointed out that it is wrong if one of the states tries to adopt only part of the agreement or agreements, the ones that suit them and added that the agreements must be respected as a whole.

“The aim of the Commission is to resolve the historical dilemmas in the field of education, in the context of overcoming the stereotypes of the Balkans in textbooks that depict peoples as friendly, and thus we teach children that here nations are enemies and that is why we should then build their view of the neighbor, but not history as a question of the identity of nations, because the question of identity arises from the right of states to self-determination and is not a question of disagreement and I think that is the main difference. This distinction will be made and I think then people will see the Commission more easily and here in our country, they will understand the role of the committee less emotionally. And I think that’s the problem – the emotions. Where there is emotion, there is no rationality. We need a rational approach now, separating history as an educational issue from history as an identity dispute”, Osmani said.

VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski said yesterday that a Bulgarian government minister had confirmed that there was a 12-point annex to the agreement, which he reportedly had extremely bad positions on the identity of North Macedonia.

“Three months ago, on Kanal 5, I said that there was an annex to the agreement with Bulgaria. I was attacked by Zaev, his powerless collaborators and the government’s false propaganda that I was spreading untruths”, Mickoski said.

VMRO-DPMNE parliamentary group member Stefan Andonovski also claimed yesterday that the government was negotiating the Macedonian language and identity in secret.

“It is a pity for the Macedonian identity, language and history to be discussed in TV shows in Sofia, without anyone knowing what is on the table. At the same time, it is a pity for Dimitrov to convince the Macedonians that they need to rest from the conflict with Bulgaria, while Buckovski is preparing for a new meeting and discussions”, he said, adding that the public deserves to know everything./ibna