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North Macedonia’s PM attacked Bulgaria and compared it to Russia
The Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovachevski, publicly attacked Bulgaria on the international stage, comparing it to Russia, reports Bulgaria's National Television
Kovachevski and Bulgarian Vice President Iliana Yotova exchanged criticism at the Council of Europe summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. There, Yotova represented Bulgaria in another major European initiative to support Ukraine.
"The way of speaking, widely used by Bulgaria towards North Macedonia, unfortunately, closely resembles the way the Russian Federation speaks about Ukraine. It is unacceptable that false and baseless accusations are maliciously used for political purposes at this crucial moment in the history of Europe.
North Macedonia is internationally recognized as a successful example of a functioning multi-ethnic society and democracy. All international human rights defenders confirm this fact in their reports. The accusations made at this meeting by the representative of Bulgaria are completely baseless and come from a country that shows disrespect for the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and the standards of the Council of Europe for human rights," Kovachevski said.
Kovachevski's words came in response to Vice President Iliana Yotova. At the meeting of the Council of Europe, the largest human rights organization on the continent, Yotova raised the issue of the rights of Bulgarians in North Macedonia.
Here are her words at the forum:
"I want to touch on the issue of the rights of Bulgarians in the Republic of North Macedonia. I am talking about their rights, which are systematically violated, unrecognized, about Bulgarians who are subjected to harassment and restrictions. I would like to remind you that the Republic of North Macedonia is about to start EU membership negotiations. Just a few months ago, a young man in the Republic of North Macedonia was beaten for declaring his ethnic Bulgarian identity. Bulgarian clubs are being burned down, a law was passed that effectively bans them from operating.
Just a few days ago, a Bulgarian member of the European Parliament was not allowed to enter the RNM on the occasion of a historical celebration and to honor a military cemetery. This shows a serious provocation towards our European values, such as unity, solidarity and mutual respect. The most dangerous trend is hate speech, widespread as far as a neighboring country that is a member of both the European Union and the Council of Europe is concerned - my country Bulgaria.
I am talking about these facts because guaranteeing human rights cannot remain only in documents and words. Any attempt to violate human rights must be defeated by our firm and decisive stance and actions."
According to Kovachevski, Bulgaria's accusations are groundless.
His team yesterday refused BNT's invitation for an interview, reported the state television.
"We cannot ignore the fact that Bulgarian clubs are being set on fire, that young people in the RNM are being beaten at the risk of their lives just because they declared their Bulgarian identity. The rights of Bulgarians in Macedonia are still not guaranteed. They not only are not included in the constitution of the RNM, but we will very much care, if one day this text becomes a reality, to see what its practical implementation is," Yotova told BNT.
In Reykjavik, Yotova represented Bulgaria in only the fourth meeting in the more than 70-year history of the Council of Europe. At it, the member states announced that they believe in the victory of Ukraine and will not stop helping it. The organization created to keep the peace now wants to fulfill its mission in a time of war.
European leaders once again condemned Russian aggression and reaffirmed their support for the Ukrainian people. They are determined to hold Russia accountable for the destruction and casualties of the war. But not only in words, but also in practice.
The first step towards this is the creation of an international registry of war damage. Its aim is to establish a system of compensation for victims on the part of Moscow.
"Another rude provocation by our neighbors from the RNM who are looking for their way to Europe.
During the summit of the Council of Europe, the Prime Minister of the country Kovachevski allowed himself to compare the attitude of Bulgaria towards his country with that of Russia towards Ukraine", this is how the politician from GERB and former Deputy Foreign Minister Georg Georgiev reacted.
In addition, Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovski approves the creation of "black lists" for Bulgarian citizens and politicians.
Bulgarian MPs criticized the Prime Minister of the RNM for comparing Bulgaria with Russia
In the Bulgarian parliament, representatives of various political forces reacted sharply against yesterday's statement by the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovachevski, during the summit of the Council of Europe in Reykjavik, in which he compared the actions of Bulgaria towards his country with those of the Russian Federation towards Ukraine.
In declarations from the parliamentary rostrum, Georg Georgiev from GERB - SDS and Pavela Miteva from "There Is Such a People" declared the tone unacceptable and called on Bulgaria to react sharply.
Georg Georgiev stated:
"Not only cynical, but I would also call it arrogant, is such an attitude towards a country that in the last 30 years has done everything possible to raise not only its authority, but also the authority of its neighbors. And if today, somehow, someone allows him to compare us with the Russian Federation, then we should very seriously pay attention to him and issue a warning. But this warning, dear colleagues, should also be directed at ourselves".
In turn, Pavela Miteva pointed out:
"This is further proof that numerous concessions on the diplomatic stage do not lead to the desired results. Such a diplomatic scandal would arouse at least the displeasure of political subjects in any other country, but not in Bulgaria.
Some things in life and in politics are unforgivable. I hope Bulgarian diplomacy will show that they are not irreparable".
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