Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani stated his regret for the attack on Bulgarian activist Hristijan Pendikov, who was badly beaten in Ohrid. Osmani visited Pendikov in hospital in Sofia, where he is being treated, but also warned that Macedonia will close its borders for Bulgarian politicians who deny the existence of the Macedonian nation – pointing to nationalist leader Angel Dzhambazhki.
With Bulgarian Minister Milkov I had the opportunity to visit Pendikov and speak to him and his family. I regret this incident. This type of violence does not reflect the values of the citizens of Macedonia and we will make sure there is zero tolerance for violence, Osmani said.
He then discussed the recent gathering in Skopje, led by Dzhambazhki, on the anniversary of the 1928 assassination of a Serbian colonel by Mara Buneva, a hero claimed by both Bulgaria and many Macedonians. During this gathering, speaking to hundreds of nationalist supporters who mainly arrived from Bulgaria, Dzhambazhki said that Macedonia is Bulgarian land and denied the existence of a separate Macedonian identity.
We will not allow the negation of the Bulgarian community just as we will not allow the negation of the Macedonian people. Such provocations must stop. We will have to address every gathering to Macedonia whose goal is to deny the Macedonian people and this will be the last such gathering, Osmani said.
Dzhambazhki and fellow nationalist leader Kostadin Kostadinov were not stopped at the border, even though Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski hinted he may do so after a previous provocative event.