site.btaBulgarian Foreign Ministry Condemns Assault on Ohrid Culture Club
On its official website, The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry condemned the assault on the King Boris III Culture Club in Ohrid in the early hours on Monday. "This is the second attack against this organization in less than two months and yet another hate crime against the Bulgarians in the Republic of North Macedonia. Such actions tangibly and deliberately hinder the efforts to establish friendship, good neighbourliness and cooperation as guiding principles in the relations between Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia," the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said.
It also wrote: "In fact, what is happening should be seen in the context of the unpunished attempt for burning the Ivan Mihailov club in Bitola, of the calls for denunciation of the Treaty of Good Neighbourliness with Bulgaria, of the escalating hate speech in media and social networks in the Republic of North Macedonia, of months of aggressive public campaigning against Bulgarian cultural clubs and of legislative changes threatening freedom of association in this neighbouring country".
"The names of the Bulgarian clubs are not the reason for this campaign. It is telling that the leader of the main opposition party is now openly calling for the immediate closure of Bulgarian clubs just because they are Bulgarian, regardless of what they are named. It is obvious that in the Republic of North Macedonia there is still a problem with free expression of Bulgarian identity".
"We are confident that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia will have a timely and adequate response to what happened. There is a constructive dialogue between our two foreign policy institutions. We expect this dialogue to engage the other institutions in the neighbouring country in concrete actions. It is necessary for them to take timely measures to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of the crime against the King Boris III Cultural Club. The systematic absence of actual reactions creates a climate of impunity, thus inspiring more acts of this kind".
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry also said that the Macedonian authorities' reactions to such hate crimes will indicate if the country is serious about building good neighbourly relations and its EU accession process.