The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a reaction to today’s observance of the birth anniversary of Goce Delcev.

In the statement published on its website, it says that today’s observance of the 151st birth anniversary Delcev did not contribute to the improvement of good neighborly relations and that it will be noted that the Macedonian authorities did not allow Bulgarian citizens to pay respect to the great man.

In the period after 1991, the Republic of Bulgaria constantly shows a sincere desire to develop good neighborly relations with the Republic of Macedonia. After the signing of the Agreement on Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation in 2017, a practice was established for the joint commemoration of historical figures from our common history, such as Georgi (Goce) Nikolov Delcev without a doubt, reads the statement.

Unfortunately, as stated, the observance of the 151st birth anniversary did not contribute to the improvement of bilateral relations between Sofia and Skopje.

We state with deep regret that 02/04/2023 will go down in history as the date on which the authorities in Macedonia, with extremely unconvincing reasons and in violation of the assurances given in advance, did not allow the Bulgarian citizens to pay respect to the work and life of Delcev. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs defines today’s behavior of the Macedonian government as humiliating and unacceptable towards the Bulgarian people and the Republic of Bulgaria, according to the statement.

Sofia assesses such actions as a failure to fulfill the obligation to ensure unimpeded access for all well-intentioned citizens who want to pay respect to the great revolutionary.

This, together with the reluctance of the delegations of Bulgaria and Macedonia to jointly lay a wreath, represents a deviation from the established good practices and undermines the efforts of the Republic of Bulgaria in order to strengthen good neighborliness. Today, the actions of the authorities in Macedonia caused serious damage to the process of restoring trust, despite the efforts of Prime Minister Galab Donev, who initiated a de-escalation process in a complex situation, and Deputy Prime Minister for Public Order and Security and Minister of Internal Affairs Ivan Demerdzhiev, who visited Skopje precisely for this purpose on January 30 of this year, as well as his visit today, reads the statement.