Skopje, 23 November 2021 (MIA) – The Ministries of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia and Bulgaria are coordinating activities in response to the consequences of Tuesday’s bus accident in Bulgaria in which 45 Macedonian nationals were killed. The process to identify the victims is underway, and its completion will be followed by organized transport of the bodies of the victims, Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani said.
“I don’t know if there’s a way to gauge the size of tragedies, but today is a truly sorrowful day. I believe all of us today are living through one of the most sorrowful days in the country’s recent history,” Osmani told Tuesday’s joint press conference with Minister of Interior Oliver Spasovski and Minister of Transport and Communications Blagoj Bochvarski.
During a visit to Sofia on Tuesday morning, Osmani said direct lines of cooperation with the Bulgarian authorities have been established at several levels. A working group including most experienced diplomats and consuls within the Foreign Ministry has been immediately set up in response to the consequences of this fatal tragedy.
“Earlier in the day we enabled change of the COVID-19 entry protocols, allowing close relatives of victims in the tragic bus accident to enter the country regardless of whether they possess one of the COVID-19 protection documents. The Ministry opened a phone line contacting throughout the day the families of the victims and of the injured passengers who I had the possibility to visit today and talk about their condition and the accident. In addition, two diplomats were sent to North Macedonia’s Embassy in Sofia to provide support around procedures related to the tragic event,” said Osmani.
He pointed out that coordination activities continue on Wednesday according to the dynamics agreed with Sofia counterparts.
“Judicial institutions are in direct contact regarding the completion of the identification process through DNA analysis. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs set up lines to ensure swift exchange of information in order to coordinate activities with the relatives of the victims in the identification process. The completion of the identification process will be followed by organized procedure to transport the bodies of the victims, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, which undertook the obligation to coordinate the relevant institutions in Sofia,” Osmani said.
“Whatever we do today, we cannot make up for the loss or hide the grief. Forty-five of our fellow citizens – children, women, husbands and wives are no longer with us. What we will do as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is give the families the dignity in these most difficult moments for them to receive the right information, identification and dignified transfer of the victims’ remains from Sofia,” Osmani said.