North Macedonia has Released Vlado Buckovski as Chief Negotiator with Bulgaria
The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia has relieved Vlado Buckovski of the post of Special Representative of the country in the negotiations with Bulgaria for resolving the dispute between the two countries, BTA reported.
Buckovski's release took place at the meeting under the item "personnel decisions" and so far no reasons for the decision have been announced.
Buckovski's mandate as a mediator in talks with Bulgaria to resolve the dispute and lift the Bulgarian veto on the country was extended late last year. His release comes a day after the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) on relations with North Macedonia was held in Bulgaria.
After the meeting, President Rumen Radev said Bulgaria would want concrete results to lift its veto on the start of North Macedonia's EU membership talks.
Bulgaria is currently suspending the start of negotiations for North Macedonia's accession to the EU. Kiril Petkov's coalition government cited the issue as key. It promised to work to resolve the dispute between the two sides and said a six-month deadline was realistic for normalizing relations.
The National Security Advisory Council was held a week before the planned first visit of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov to North Macedonia. However, it was postponed because all members of the council are under quarantine due to a positive COVID-19 test by Parliament Speaker Nikola Manchev.
Sofia blocked the start of North Macedonia's EU membership talks in November 2020. At the time, Bulgaria was the only EU country to refuse to support a framework for negotiations with Skopje, which is a prerequisite for starting negotiations.
The argument was that the negotiating framework did not reflect Sofia's demands. They relate to the language of North Macedonia, support for claims to recognition of the Macedonian minority, and compliance with the two-country neighborly agreement.
/Radio Free Europe Bulgaria
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