Bulgaria opposes federalisation of Macedonia, PM says after Zaev meeting

Bulgaria opposes the federalisation of Macedonia, wants to see that country’s political crisis resolved democratically, and backs its accession to the EU and Nato, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said after talks in Sofia with Macedonian opposition leader Zoran Zaev on May 19.

Zaev, of the socialist SDSM party, was in the Bulgarian capital at the invitation of his party’s counterpart, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party.

The meeting with Borissov was attended by Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov and BSP MP Yanaki Stoilov.

Speaking against the background of the continuing political crisis in Macedonia, Borissov said that for Bulgaria it was very important that the crisis be solved in a democratic manner, and opposed any talk of federalising the country.

Recently, Russia’s propaganda machine has been suggesting that Bulgaria has territorial ambitions towards Macedonia, whose Nikola Gruevski government is backed by the Kremlin.

A diplomatic scandal between Moscow and Sofia was caused by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov saying that there “some people” who spoke of Bulgaria and Albania getting pieces of a dismantled Macedonia.

The Russian envoy who was called in to Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry to explain Lavrov’s remarks said that he had been referring to media reports.

Bulgaria repeatedly has vehemently rejected the idea it has claims on Macedonia, underlining that it was the first country to recognise the independent post-Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Borissov said that Bulgaria saw the finding of a common language between the Macedonian government and the opposition important.

Bulgaria was not interfering with Macedonia’s internal affairs but was concerned about a political crisis “on top of that, at our border and among a people that are closest to Bulgaria”.

He said that the fact that Stoilov, a member of the opposition, had been present at the meeting was a sign that Bulgaria was not divided into left and right camps when it came to dealing with such issues.

Zaev said that the future of Macedonia lay in fair and democratic elections.

He said that he did want a repeat of what had happened in Ukraine and in Serbia, emphasising that everything could be solved without violence.

“Our place is in the EU and Nato and we are attempting to find a solution to the crisis that affects not only Macedonia but also the entire region,” Zaev said.

He said that he had taken the “wonderful opportunity” of his visit to Sofia “so that we, as a country in a political crisis, could inform the Republic of Bulgaria – a great friend of Macedonia – of the ways to solve the crisis, of the possibilities for finding a solution in a peaceful way, to thank the representatives of the Republic of Bulgaria, most of all the Prime Minister, and all European institutions that are making the maximum efforts to tackle the problems in Macedonia through dialogue”.

He had given his views to the Bulgarian leaders on the crisis in Macedonia and ways that it could be dealt with, Zaev said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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