site.btaUPDATED Foreign Minister Milkov Warns of Escalating Enmity towards Bulgarian Institutions in North Macedonia
“In North Macedonia we see an escalating trend of problems and attacks against Bulgarian institutions,” caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolay Milkov told a press conference on Friday. He and Vice President Iliana Iotova presented the programme of events that will mark the 30th anniversary of Bulgaria's membership in the International Organisation of La Francophonie.
"The situations in which Bulgarian clubs and organisations were attacked have been overlooked, but now the Bulgarian state has become the object, since yesterday, of such attacks," Milkov explained. In his words, North Macedonia cannot follow the agenda that was set by the French proposal.
According to Milkov, Bulgaria should turn directly to its EU partners, rather than giving in to provocations from Skopje, so they can understand Bulgaria’s position and find out why North Macedonia is not holding its end of the bargain.
The minister pointed out that impunity in North Macedonia gives rise to the propensity for new provocations and crimes. According to him, North Macedonia should have made preventive efforts to protect Bulgarian places on its territory. In his view, this was clearly not done, and there has been a trend to present relations between Bulgaria and North Macedonia as developing normally, but for a few extremists on either side of the border muddying the water.
There are more than 17,000 NGOs registered in North Macedonia. Yesterday, the commission to rule on their names went into session. The only decisions and rulings were regarding the two Bulgarian organisations, and they were negative, Milkov said. In his words, this once again shows that the legislation was tendentiously adopted and the commission was tendentiously created. "Its aim is actually to repress Bulgarian organisations," he added.
"A separate issue is why and how a name like Ivan Mihailov is unacceptable in the Republic of North Macedonia. He was an IMRO activist. He fought for the freedom of Macedonia, for the emancipation of Macedonia. He lived out the end of his days in Italy, where he was neither persecuted as a fascist, nor put on trial, nor indicted," Milkov explained. “This problem is obviously arising now in North Macedonia for certain reasons that have topical relevance and this is a question that our neighbour must answer,” he added.