Macedonia offers a finger - Bulgaria asks for both hands

Bulgaria's President has sent a letter to his Macedonian counterpart, Gjorge Ivanov, calling on joint celebration of the Ilinden Uprising, Dnevnik daily reads. 

Political games evolving around the Agreement on Cooperation and Good Neighborly Relations continue, despite the exchange of letters between Macedonian and Bulgarian Presidents, in which they have agreed that the 1999 Declaration is acceptable and can be signed.

After Sofia announced that it will wait for the new Macedonian government to be formed, it now puts pressure, posing new demands to extort additional concession from the list of interests it has towards Macedonia.

According to the Bulgarian media, President Rosen Plevneliev had sent another letter to President Ivanov, proposing both countries to celebrate Ilinden Uprising, an event which was not on the list of holidays offered by our side. 

Plevneliev suggests Ilinden Uprising to be celebrated first in Bulgaria then in Macedonia, a pressure extorted by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, too.

"Generally, I am not against this idea. It is part of the European culture. However, in my opinion, it is best to build mutual trust first", Macedonia's Chief of Diplomacy, Nikola Poposki, stated in an interview with the Bulgarian newspaper "Presa", published Monday.

"The idea of mutually celebrating holidays is not new. Previously, there were similar suggestions in different contexts. But, unfortunately, those suggestions were given unilateral political interpretation only."

"I think we must stop with the political abuse of the past and, if we manage this, all problems will be solved", Poposki said, pointing that Bulgaria should refrain from imposing various demands.

"We always have the feeling that something is being imposed on us forcefully, instead of acknowledging Macedonia's integrity", Poposki stated, adding that such celebrations could question the existence of Macedonia.   

In response to the question if Sofia's proposal will be rejected, Poposki refused to reply directly, saying he would not further speculate, reminding that a joint celebration has already taken place recently in Rome.    

Poposki has also questioned the signing of the Cooperation Agreement, stating that there was never a negotiation deadline and that "the date for negotiations had never been crucial".

"If we only focus on the date, we will not be able to focus on the essence. Considering the positive signals sent by both countries' prime ministers, I feel we are on the right path towards closing this chapter," Poposki added.

Asked if the part of the Agreement in which Macedonia refrains from protecting "the minority" in Bulgaria remains, Poposki replied that it is our duty, contained in the Agreement with Greece as well, and we have no intention nor ambitions to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, but we expect the same too, as there are fears that certain parties do not accept Macedonia's existence.

President Ivanov's Cabinet has confirmed that such a letter has been received.  
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