Kiril Petkov is a non-traditional politician with a non-standard vocabulary who does not use rhetoric known from previous times. A technocrat and optimist, the only such optimist in politics I know is Zoran Zaev. This was stated in an interview with Macedonian Television 24 by the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski.
However, he said the Republic of North Macedonia is far from saying the situation is over, and politicians should carefully consider each step. The other country (Bulgaria) has imposed a set of issues that encroach on our identity, and we must not allow that. We are considering every proposal that comes from the last government in Bulgaria, and we need to look at it three times. “We have to measure three times and cut once,”Pendarovski said.
He praised Tuesday”s visit of Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov to the Republic of North Macedonia. He assessed as good the pace of work of the commissions set by the two prime ministers Petkov and Kovachevski – one of the five working groups to have one meeting each week – and predicted that if the groups work really actively, before the end of May there may be results, but still they can not be expected overnight.
According to Pendarovski, the working groups will have press attachés and, unlike the historical commission, the chairmen will not speak. “The difference with the historical commission is that the working groups will present only what they have agreed on,” Pendarovski said.
According to him, the analysis that the Republic of North Macedonia has made a concession with the note sent to the UN that North Macedonia is a name that concerns only the political and state entity and there are no territorial claims behind that name is incorrect, which is why Kiril Petkov announced that Bulgaria will now use the short version of the name – North Macedonia. Pendarovski said the note was simply an explanation that his country had no territorial claims on anyone. According to him, the 5 + 1 package that Bulgaria has set up was in force until the formation of the new government and will work on a completely new methodology – that of the working groups. “There is no more plan or proposal 5 + 1. This plan came after the failed proposal from Lisbon. We did not receive any response, although we thought it was a good starting point for further discussions. We tried to unblock the talks with the mini package 5 + 1. After the election of the new Bulgarian government, five commissions were proposed to work and we agreed with that. I dispute the thesis that we gave something to get something in return,” Pendarovski said.
As for the issues related to a possible change in the composition of the joint historical commission between the two countries, Pendarovski clarified that it is the right of each government to appoint the members of the commission on its part.
In his conversation with the Bulgarian Prime Minister, it was not about Macedonian citizens with Bulgarian identity, but if asked, he would say that interference in the internal affairs was a request from outside for the inclusion of any ethnic group in the Constitution. “There are Macedonians in Bulgaria. And will we as, a country, help them with their rights in Bulgaria? No. Why not? Rule number one in international law, international politics, Article 2 of the UN Charter, which applies to all countries in the world is: without interference in the internal affairs. They are Bulgarian citizens, citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria. I assure you that the Macedonian state at the state level has never tried to push them, to provoke them, to tell them – come out, to help them. It is decided on an individual level. You feel Macedonian – you will say it. If they don’t give it to you, you go to Strasbourg. This is the way. There is no other way. There are Bulgarians in Macedonia, but our authorities are responsible for their rights. If they are not happy with how we defend their rights, then they will go to Strasbourg. But they are my concern because they are our citizens. Just as I have no right and should not say ‘you will give the rights to Macedonians in Bulgaria’, so no one has the right to tell me whether to include or not Bulgarians in the constitution. This is our sovereign decision,” Pendarovski said.
Asked about the future of Dimitar Kovachevski’s government, he said “the government has a better chance of ending its term than going to early elections. Another question is whether they will end their term well or badly. The only way to get to the early elections, which the opposition wants, is to dissolve itself in parliament, Pendarovski said, but the required 61 votes can only be collected by VMRO-DPMNE and DUI. What is the interest of DUI to go to such elections?”Pendarovsky asked. /BTA