Bulgarian PM’s January 18 visit to North Macedonia postponed – report

A visit to Skopje by a delegation headed by Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov that had been planned for January 18 has been postponed, but not cancelled, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT) quoted the government information service as saying on January 11.

The announcement follows Petkov and several other government and political leaders being subject to quarantine rules after attending a meeting called by President Roumen Radev to discuss Bulgaria’s policy towards the Republic of North Macedonia. After the meeting, it emerged that one of those who had attended, National Assembly Speaker Nikola Minchev, had tested positive for Covid-19, meaning that the others who were there were contact persons.

BNT said that it was not clear when the visit to Skopje by the Petkov delegation would take place.

The Bulgarian government that took office on December 13 aims for the visit to Skopje to be a new beginning, to overcome troubles in bilateral relations and to emphasise the benefits for the two countries from North Macedonia’s EU accession process.

That process has been hampered in recent years by disputes that have led Bulgaria to stand in its way.

Speaking on January 11, opposition GERB party leader and former prime minister Boiko Borissov said that Radev, in holding yesterday’s meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security, had deprived Petkov of any opportunity to manoeuvre regarding North Macedonia.

Borissov said that Bulgaria’s 2017 agreement with North Macedonia was clearly spelt out in every area and Radev’s meeting had been unnecessary.

Borissov also criticised Minchev for attending the meeting even though he had been feeling ill.

(Photo of Petkov: government.bg)

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