Pendarovski: Kiril Petkov's Approach is much more Modern than the previous GovernmentDiplomacy | December 17, 2021, Friday // 10:53| views
There are two components in the proposal of the Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov for negotiations (with the Republic of North Macedonia). And the period of 6 months, which he indicated, did not surprise me, said in an interview with the Macedonian television Thelma, the President of the Republic of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski.
Pendarovski clarified that he did not expect the new Bulgarian government to say "yes" or "no" to the start of negotiations between the Republic of North Macedonia and the EU immediately after his election, but six months is too long. "And for the content of Kiril Petkov's proposal - for various working groups - I congratulated him. This is a much more modern approach than that of the previous government. This is a different tone. I do not say, and Petkov does not say no to protect Bulgaria's national interests, but he suggests that we talk in a broader field about the real criteria according to which negotiations begin and the EU enters," Pendarovski said. He added that the historical commission is important "to close or fill some spots in history, because both they and we had communist historiography, but we can not talk only about history and the success of the work of this commission to depend whether or not someone joins the EU. I congratulate Kiril Petkov for this approach."
Pendarovski clarified that according to him, six months is too long for the working committees, because in the last years since 2017, since the signing of the bilateral agreement, and especially in the last year until today, there have been two government meetings an assessment of what has been achieved. "I don't think there will be a surprise. What would be the surprise for?" Pendarovski asked. For Corridor No. 8, for energy connectivity, if you will, and for clearing up some ambiguities in textbooks? And I don't think these issues would be cleared up in 10 days, but in a few weeks, and the working groups can continue their work."
Regarding Bulgaria's conditions, known as "5+1", Pendarovski said the Republic of North Macedonia has sent its views on them, but there is no official response from Sofia, despite speculation that such a response has been sent: I have not received anything neither orally nor in writing. In fact, I received the answer today and yesterday with the last veto of Bulgaria. It is clear that they (in Sofia) do not like the answers we refer to these few points, but these are the red lines that cannot be deviated from, so in February, March and whenever they are placed on the table these five, six points, our answer will be identical, said Pendarovski.
According to him, in the Republic of North Macedonia they do not objectively know all the positions of the new Bulgarian Prime Minister except the term and the models he proposes. "We do not know exactly what he thinks specifically on these topics. The people who are now in key positions in Bulgaria have not been in such positions so far. We tried to find out what the new Bulgarian Foreign Minister thinks on issues and problems with the Republic of North Macedonia. We didn't find out. We have to wait," Pendarovski said.
Asked whether a change in Bulgaria's position should be expected, Pendarovski said that in the first early parliamentary elections in Bulgaria he warned that a quick solution could not be expected due to the unanimity with which the declaration was adopted in the Bulgarian Parliament. "It's a matter of historical and political continuity, and I said, 'Let's go step by step without rushing.' And now I say, 'We've been waiting 17 years with candidate status. I'm not saying to wait another year, two, five, but if you have a statement like the last one, it has to do with the way Sofia views the Macedonian issue."
According to him, such conditions as Bulgaria sets for the Republic of North Macedonia have not only not been presented to anyone, but also have nothing to do with the criteria for each EU candidate country.
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