Bulgarian Foreign Minister Demands Good-Neighbor Agreement with Macedonia
The new Foreign Minister, Kristian VIgenin, reiterated Bulgaria's wish to sign a good-neighbor agreement with Macedonia at a meeting with his Macedonian counterpart, Nikola Poposki, in Ohrid.
Meanwhile, Macedonia has been sending mixed signals about the proposal, mediapool.bg reports, citing an earlier statement of Poposki that he saw no sense in the signing of such an agreement.
Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry has not yet reported Poposki's stance on the issue during his first meeting with Vigenin in his capacity as Foreign Minister.
During the meeting, Vigenin expressed Bulgaria's readiness to fast-track negotiations on an expert level in order to achieve positive results as soon as possible.
"Maintaining good neighborly relations is an important criterion on the path towards EU integration, but at the same time the Republic of Macedonia has to resolve the issues, set by the European Commission," Kristian Vigenin said.
The two Foreign Ministers also discussed possibilities for enhancing cooperation on all levels, including high-level political dialogue, according to the press office of the Foreign Ministry.
Vigenin took part in the meeting of foreign ministers of countries participating in the South-East European Cooperation Process, SEECP, in Ohrid.
"We need more Europe. The difficulties the European Union is facing at the moment should not slow down the expansion dynamics. On the contrary, encouraging the European integration of the Western Balkans needs to become part of the solution of the crisis," Vigenin explained.
To illustrate his point with positive examples, he cited Croatia, scheduled to become a full- fledged EU member on July 1, and the normalization agreement between Serbia and Kosovo from April 19.
"We firmly support the ambitions of all countries in the region for EU accession, as long as they are based on consistent and irreversible progress in the sphere of economic and political reforms and the fulfillment of the necessary requirements," Bulgaria's Foreign Minister emphasized.
He added that Bulgaria was aware of its responsibility as an EU Member State for supporting the just aspirations of the Western Balkan countries for membership in the European and Euro-Atlantic structures.
"Bulgaria is ready to share its experience for the sake of the modernization of the region and for boosting its stability and prosperity," Vigenin stated.
The Foreign Ministers adopted a joint declaration upholding their commitment for deepening regional cooperation in South-Eastern Europe and voiced their firm conviction that EU continued to be extremely important for the Western Balkan countries and the region as a whole. They also issued a joint statement on reducing the poverty risk and the adaptation to climate changes.
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