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Bulgaria’s Kiril Petkov announces building better relations with North Macedonia

Kiril Petkov, co-president of We Continue the Change coalition that won the Bulgarian parliamentary elections, said in an interview for BNT that Bulgaria and North Macedonia should form work groups not only consisting of historians but also people from the spheres of business, culture and education.

Skopje, 15 November 2021 (MIA) – Kiril Petkov, co-president of We Continue the Change coalition that won the Bulgarian parliamentary elections, said in an interview for BNT that Bulgaria and North Macedonia should form work groups not only consisting of historians but also people from the spheres of business, culture and education.

According to MIA’s Sofia correspondent, Petkov said these work groups wouldn’t discuss history only, but focus on anything that could improve bilateral ties between North Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Petkov said it wasn’t right that people from Skopje had to book flights through Vienna to reach Sofia and that there was no rail service between the two countries. Also, he said, it wasn’t right it was easier for Bulgarian businesses to operate in Australia than in North Macedonia.

“We should start talking about all aspects of good-neighborly relations that would benefit from this [future cooperation],” Petkov said.

He said the work groups should have clear goals and meet once a month as opposed to once every six months.

“Bulgaria has to defend its national interest and so does North Macedonia, but under a common denominator that both countries have something to gain from good-neighborly relations,” Petkov said.

Petkov didn’t answer BNT’s direct question about whether or not Bulgaria should lift its veto against North Macedonia on Dec. 14, saying it was impossible to talk about final results without a work process, adding that this process would be the highest priority for the future leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria so no time is wasted.

“We can’t set a specific date without seeing how this process goes. We want to start with good-neighborliness, good will, and I hope that, through lots of constructiveness, we will find a way to achieve better results than before,” Petkov said.

He confirmed he was Bulgaria’s PM candidate from We Continue the Change coalition, with Asen Vasilev being the candidate for Minister of Finance.

Petkov said the coalition would not talk to DPS and GERB but it would try to negotiate a coalition with the Democratic Bulgaria, BSP, and There is Such a People. Bulgaria’s future government must serve its entire term, he added. dk/mr/

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