Macedonia’s Premier Proposes Annex to the Friendship Treaty and New Commitments to Bulgaria
The dispute between Sofia and Skopje may still be resolved with an additional document to the Bulgarian-Macedonian Friendship Treaty signed in 2017 and several other provisions concerning the improvement of the bilateral relations and the Treaty implementation, Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev told Deutsche Welle after Bulgaria confirmed its veto on the start of the accession talks between Macedonia and the EU.
Zoran Zaev is quoted as saying that „There is still a possibility to find a solution is we sign some protocol, a memorandum within the framework of the Friendship Treaty with Bulgaria. Thus, he avoided the word “annex” on which some of the top officials in Sofia insist. The word, however, is rejected by Skopje political elite, which does not rule out the possibility that a document added to the Treaty may help reach a compromise.
Sofia pointed out several problems in the negotiation framework which prevented the General Affairs Council from taking a decision. Among them is the need for a road map for the implementation of the Treaty, resolute denial of “Macedonian language” term during the negotiation process and re-confirming that there will be no claims concerning the existence of “Macedonian minority” in Bulgaria. Before DW Zaev was talking about the “Macedonian language according to the Constitution of North Macedonia” formula and it ensues from his commentary that Skopje is not prepared to give up using the term “Macedonian language” in the accession talks’ framework. Bulgaria, on its part, insists on the tern “the official language of the Republic of North Macedonia.”
In Zaev’s words, the short name (North Macedonia, as well as the long one (the Republic of North Macedonia) are related to the state’s political identity and do not mean any territorial claims.
We definitely do not have any territorial claims nor that concerning minorities. This is why the states have international liabilities,” Zaev continued. “These people are Bulgarian citizens and defend their rights at home and across the world,” he concluded.
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