site.btaDeputy Foreign Minister Kondov Meets with Bulgarians in North Macedonia

Deputy Foreign Minister Kondov Meets with Bulgarians in North Macedonia
Deputy Foreign Minister Kondov Meets with Bulgarians in North Macedonia
Bulgaria's Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Kondov meets with Bulgarians in North Macedonia, Skopje, June 12, 2024 (Photo: BTA/Marinela Velichkova)

Bulgaria's Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Kondov met with members of the Bulgarian community in North Macedonia on Wednesday. Kondov arrived in Skopje to attend a foreign ministers meeting of the countries of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) and to represent Bulgaria at the SEECP Summit of Heads of State and Government, both of which will be held on Thursday.

Kondov said: "Bulgaria put the Western Balkans back on the EU map in 2016, saying that they are a part of Europe and their path goes towards the EU. We signed a Friendship and Good-neighbourliness Treaty with the Republic of North Macedonia, and we were optimistic that integration and good neighbourly relations would continue, but we were confronted by a different reality. After long negotiations, and with the understanding of France as holder of the EU Presidency in 2022, a European negotiating framework emerged for the Republic of North Macedonia, according to which Bulgarians were to be inscribed in the country's Constitution. Regrettably, that has not happened to this day. The Bulgarian position will not change, and North Macedonia should honour its commitments and fulfill the agreements which have been signed. We cannot move forward unless you [the Bulgarians in North Macedonia] are treated as any other EU citizens, who have equal rights."

According to Kondov, the condition of reciprocity, which some politicians in North Macedonia have raised for adding the Bulgarians in North Macedonia to the country's Constitution, is impossible to fulfill if only for the different constitutional systems in the two countries.

He said: "Before the elections in the Republic of North Macedonia, the Bulgarian government took a cautious and delicate stance. I remain optimistic, but not about the nearest future. I believe that after the right rhetoric is chosen, a way will certainly be found to move forward. I hope that reason will prevail, and European policy will be recognized as important for North Macedonia."

The members of the Bulgarian community updated the deputy foreign minister on some of the problems and challenges they are faced with. The meeting was also attended by Bulgarian Ambassador in Skopje Angel Angelov, Bulgarian Consul General in Bitola Nikolai Dimitrov and other members of the Bulgarian diplomatic mission in North Macedonia.

The meeting, held at the Bulgarian Culture and Information Centre (BCIC) in Skopje, started with the opening of an exhibition dubbed "Eco-conscience". It is part of a multi-media collection created by artists from various countries in the Art Colony in Galichnik, with a focus on nature and environmental protection. The exhibition features artists from Bulgaria, North Macedonia, the Netherlands and Denmark, BCIC Director Antonia Veleva said.

Works from four plein-air events held in Galichnik between 2020 and 2023 are on display at the BCIC.

/VE/

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By 08:42 on 14.07.2024 Today`s news

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