site.btaNorth Macedonia's Foreign Minister: Skopje Should Create Zero Tolerance for Hate Speech
Hristian Pendikov is scared to return to Skopje because he is being threatened on the social networks. Pendikov, who was beaten up for identifying himself as Bulgarian, told North Macedonia's Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani as much when he was visiting the assault victim in Sofia's Military Medical Academy with Bulgarian chief diplomat Nikolay Milkov on Sunday.
Pendikov, a citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia who identifies himself as Bulgarian, is Secretary of the King Boris III Club in Ohrid. He was severely beaten on his way out of a Skopje pub on January 19 and was admitted to hospital in Sofia with multiple injuries on the face and body and a fractured lower jaw.
Interviewed on North Macedonia's Television 24, Osmani said Skopje should create zero tolerance for hate speech because otherwise it would go on endlessly.
"It would be best if the focus of the Bulgarian community in the Republic of North Macedonia reverted to Skopje. There is no need to address their requests to Bulgaria because they are citizens of North Macedonia," Osmani said.
He said it was wrong to focus on Bulgaria in relation to amendments to the Constitution to include the Bulgarians living in the Republic of North Macedonia in the Preamble of the Basic Law.
Osmani said: "Constitutional revisions are the attitude of our citizens towards the communities here [in North Macedonia], towards the ethnic communities. Do not put Bulgaria in this context. Bulgarians here are citizens of this country and rightly ask why they are excluded from the Constitution, like Croats, Montenegrins and other communities. Do we treat them equally, or do we have a threshold below which communities should not be listed in the Constitution?"
It is important to hear that an end must be put to provocations and the intention of "a small group of people" to hold hostage the relations between Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia, Osmani said.
Asked to comment on the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry's decision to recall for consultations Ambassador Angel Angelov from Skopje, Osmani said the likely reason was the invitation to Foreign Minister Nikolay Milkov to address the Bulgarian Parliament on the Pendikov case.
"That is why it is important for us to be proactive so as not to allow a one-sided presentation of the whole situation to the Bulgarian public, but especially to Europe," Osmani said.