Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski defended his decision not to appear at the grave of Goce Delcev yesterday by saying that he was tied up by his visit to Greece. The 119th anniversary of Delcev’s death was marked yesterday, but of the top Government officials, only President Pendarovski visited his grave.

I just returned from a day long event in Alexandropoli, but the Government was represented by ministers and deputy ministers at all sites where Delcev was honored. I also gave a statement on the anniversary that was shared by the MIA news agency, Kovacevski said.

His Government is trying to appease Bulgaria into lifting its veto against Macedonia’ EU accession talks, and has greatly reduced the usual honoring of Macedonian national heroes that Bulgaria also claims.

Kovacevski said that his visit to Greece was very important since the Alexandropoli gas project should help change the energy future of the Balkans. There he also met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who is trying to lift the veto – against opposition from his coalition partners.