Bulgarian PM on his future visit to North Macedonia: I come with readiness for a new beginning
“I do not come with an annex to the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness, and Cooperation, but with a constructive tone and readiness for a new beginning, which will be more dynamic, more practical, free from previous declarative aspirations and focused on specific important issues affecting everyday life of the citizens of both countries.” This was stated by Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov in an interview published today for the Macedonian MIA agency, given before his visit to Skopje on Tuesday.
Petkov, who is the first foreign statesman to visit the Republic of North Macedonia since the election of the new government, said in an interview with MIA that “there is no prepared document, as all these documents do not make sense if we do not give them real motivation. I suggest we leave the documents as a second step and start working first so that there is something that we will write about in the next document. Our task is to make a program, to make working groups, to start the dialogue, to have a sense of mutual trust on both sides to have good intentions, to set goals that we want to achieve in the shortest possible time,” Petkov told MIA.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister assessed as very constructive his telephone conversation with Dimitar Kovachevski, who was in charge of forming the new government and expressed confidence that the two of them, as people from the sphere of economy and business, have similar energy to move things forward. He expressed hope that during the visit, the two countries would agree on the formation of the five working groups - on economy, culture, infrastructure, European integration, and history.
“Cooperation and good neighborliness should be strengthened by groups in the field, not politicians,” Petkov said. “The purpose of the visit is to draw up a program of meetings of these working groups, each of which meets once a month, and with which to make progress on all issues,” he added.
“We need to constantly communicate, to make progress. My hope is that this will be real in the coming months, and I will try to emphasize that during the visit. I don't just want politicians to come and talk. When I talk about economics, I want to see all our companies that want and have an interest in the Republic of North Macedonia, all your companies that have an interest in Bulgaria. This meeting does not need politicians, this meeting needs people who want to work, do business together,” Petkov added and reminded that he personally, as Prime Minister, cannot understand how there is still no direct airline between Sofia and Skopje.
The Prime Minister also focused on deadlines, he had previously set a deadline of six months to resolve the dispute, and after the National Security Advisory Council, President Rumen Radev said that deadlines are not necessary, but real results are needed, MIA notes.
“Actually, we can achieve results and fit in a certain deadline. That's what I mean. So if I say a certain deadline now, six months, we start with the same readiness. We need to see what the issues are, how we will solve them. The deadline depends only on the readiness of each of the parties to lend a hand and do the work together,” Petkov said.
“I believe that a friendly, constructive approach should be able to solve both easy and difficult topics. That is why it is most important to have trust, and I hope that we will be able to build such trust with the things we do together.” Petkov emphasizes and adds that all issues can be resolved through constructive dialogue.
In the interview for MIA Petkov spoke about the destructive forces in the Republic of North Macedonia and in Bulgaria, which work against good neighborliness, the fight against corruption in Bulgaria, and in a broader context in the Balkans. The Prime Minister spoke about the expectations of Bulgaria to join the Eurozone, about the pressure on Bulgaria to resolve the dispute, about the situation in the Balkans.
MIA will present tomorrow the full text of the interview of the Bulgarian Prime Minister, along with video material.
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