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Zakharieva: Bulgaria’s support for North Macedonia’s EU bid is not unconditional

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Bulgarian foreign minister on Tuesday ruled out her country’s unconditional support to North Macedonia’s EU entry bid, saying it is dependent on good neighborly relations.

“Our support to Macedonia’s EU accession bid has never been unconditional,” Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva said, adding it is not the first time that Bulgaria sets conditions.

It depends on the settling of remaining differences about key historical figures claimed by both countries.

The remarks by Bulgarian top diplomat came just a day after a meeting of political stakeholders, called by President Rumen Radev. Bulgaria’s continued support for North Macedonia’s EU accession bid, including the backing for the launch of EU membership talks that will be decided at the EU Council in mid-October, depends on whether the two countries can resolve their disputes over history, Bulgarian top officials said on Monday at the meeting in Sofia, convoked by President Rumen Radev.

Radev stressed that North Macedonia cannot make progress towards the European Union at the expense of Bulgarian interests, insisting that it has its own red lines on these issues.

The foreign minister followed in his footsteps, saying that Macedonia-related topic has always been connected to good neighborly relations.

“Earlier in Macedonia there were state-funded documentaries against Bulgaria,” Zakharieva said in an interview with Bulgarian TV Nova.

“There is no way to strive to become a EU member if you have unresolved bilateral relations,” Zakharieva said.

The minister assessed relations with Macedonia as complex. However, “the two countries are actively working in this direction, and in the last two years more has been achieved than in the previous 30,” she added.

Zakharieva said by the end of this year Bulgarian-Macedonian Joint Committee is expected to make a progress on important topics related to historical personalities and events such as Goce Delchev and the Ilinden Uprising.

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Macedonia

Arrest warrant issued for Spasov

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Former special police officer Igor Spasov, who has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for murdering Martin Neskoski, is wanted on recall to prison after going missing.

Macedonian police issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday after he failed to show up to begin his sentence. The arrest warrant has been published on the web-site of the Ministry of Interior.

The former member of special police force vanished after ignoring summons to serve time after he was sentenced in prison on murder charges.

The man had probably fled justice to avoid serving a 14-year jail sentence for a murder conviction. He was to report to Idrizovo correctional facility on 18 October.

The murder took place during a late-night celebration of VMRO-DPMNE’s victory in 2011 parliamentary elections.

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Macedonia

Matthew Palmer due in Skopje today

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The US Secretary of State’s Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, will visit North Macedonia on Tuesday.

Special Representative Palmer is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.

The two are expected to discuss the bilateral relations between North Macedonia and the United States, including the US support for the country’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. They will exchange views on the situation in the country and the region.

In late August, the U.S. State Department appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Palmer as special envoy for the Western Balkans with a mandate to help integrate the region into Western institutions.

US Secretary of State has appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer  as his Special Representative for the Western Balkans.  In this role, Palmer will lead our efforts to strengthen U.S. diplomatic engagement in support of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and focus on integration of the Western Balkan countries into Western institutions.

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Macedonia

Zaev: We can give argument to reassure Macron

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We can give arguments to reassure President Macron that “methodology prior to enlargement” proposal could be converted into “enlargement along with change in methodology”, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev wrote on his Facebook page, alluding to France’s Emmanuel Macron’s initiative for new enlargement methodology.

“We are not only a strategic interest, we are Europe. It means we will become a member of the European Union once we wrap up the comprehensive reform at home. The pre-accession process and closure of chapters will help us make it happen. The accession negotiations will help us wrap up domestic reform,” Zaev wrote on his Facebook page.

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