Solomon Passy: EU, NATO Need to Incorporate Macedonia
The West and the EU and NATO in particular must do their best to incorporate Macedonia, Bulgaria’s former Foreign Minister Solomon Passy has said.
“Currently, the East and the West are waging a battle for Macedonia, it’s not a battle involving Bulgaria and Albania as the Russian foreign minister has claimed,” Solomon Passy told state-run BNT TV channel on Tuesday.
Passy referred to recent comments by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who blamed the political crisis in Macedonia on ‘outside’ forces and asserted ideas of splitting Macedonia between Albania and Bulgaria have been floated. Lavrov’s assertion drew an angry response from Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov.
Bulgaria has no territorial claims to Macedonia as the Russian foreign minister had suggested, Passy said. He added Bulgaria has been adhering to this position for the past 25 years.
“It wasn’t a slip of the tongue, it was a very well considered statement and it’s not by chance he has thrown the ball into NATO’s court , saying that Bulgaria and Albania have allegedly been willing to split Macedonia”.
Lavrov’s allegations shouldn’t be underestimated as they are part of the information war being waged at the moment, Passy opined.
Passy, who advised Macedonia’s Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in 2007-2008 on the country’s bid to join NATO, added that all of Macedonia’s neighbours should do everything within their powers to help the country’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic bodies.
According to Passy, now Bulgaria doesn’t have the added political leverage it commanded in 2002-2003, when it was a member of the UN Security Council, and in 2004, when it chaired the OSCE.
Currently, Bulgaria can only contribute - jointly with its partners - to integrating Macedonia ‘’but we need to see good will being shown by Skopje as well’’, he said.
Passy welcomed the idea of establishing a grouping of the five southeast European states, which are members of both the EU and NATO (Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania and Slovenia) modelled after the Visegrad Four group in Central Europe (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia).
Setting up a ‘Balkan Visegrad’ group would enable its five member states to extract a very strong added value from the synergy of their membership of both the EU and NATO, Passy opined.
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