site.btaForeign Ministry to Summon North Macedonia’s Ambassador in Connection with Ohrid Attack
The Ambassador of the Republic of North Macedonia to Bulgaria will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a note of protest will be handed over to her in connection with a serious criminal act committed against a citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia with Bulgarian identity and secretary of the organization "Tsar Boris III" in Ohrid, a statement on the website of the Foreign Ministry said. The ambassador will be summoned on Friday afternoon, the ministry's press office told BTA.
On January 19, the citizen was attacked and suffered serious physical injuries. He was admitted to a hospital, the Foreign Ministry noted.
Bulgaria's caretaker Foreign Minister Nikolay Milkov had a telephone conversation with his counterpart from the Republic of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, from whom he received assurances that the local authorities would provide the necessary assistance. The interim head of the Consulate General of Bulgaria in Bitola and a team from the Bulgarian Embassy in Skopje are in contact with the injured citizen and have been sent to Ohrid.
For months, Bulgaria has strongly voiced its expectation that the authorities in North Macedonia will take immediate and effective measures against the serious escalation of hate crimes against Bulgarians in that country. Bulgaria has not yet received any official information on the investigation and the administration of justice in connection with the recent attacks, including the use of firearms against the organization "Tsar Boris III" in late 2022, the Foreign Ministry said.
Unfortunately, the attack of January 19 is an illustrative example of the grave consequences of the systematic absence of an adequate response and engagement by North Macedonia, including with regard to its failure to fulfil its fundamental commitment - to ensure the security of its own citizens, the Foreign Ministry added.
Bulgaria expects the competent authorities in the Republic of North Macedonia to take immediate action to identify, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of the crime, taking into account the seriousness of the act.
Pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance and equality between people are universal principles that bind European democratic societies, according to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry. "We expect a country that has declared its desire to be part of a Union based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, to make consistent and real efforts to implement its commitments to protect and guarantee human rights. Unfortunately, in recent months, we have witnessed exactly the opposite trends in North Macedonian society. The existence of problems with the rights of Bulgarians in North Macedonia cannot continue to be denied, both by the local authorities and by international partners. Obviously, this only leads to their aggravation and is incompatible with membership of the European Union,” the Foreign Ministry said.