Parliament ratifies Macedonia-Bulgaria friendship treaty

Skopje, 15 January 2018 – Parliament on Monday voted in favor of a draft-law on ratification of the Agreement on Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Bulgaria.

61 MPs voted in favor with one MP in abstention.

Today’s session was not attended by lawmakers of the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE.

Speaking at the session, Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said it was a fact that difficult and delicate matters between two neighboring countries couldn’t be easily negotiated and ‘neither we nor Bulgaria are fully content with the text.’

“The treaty covers our interests in Bulgaria as well. Today marks a nice symbolism because on this day Bulgaria had recognized the independence of Macedonia, being the first nation that had done so. It is pivotal that before the agreement’s ratification in practice we are seeing a substantial shift in our relations,” stated Dimitrov.

The treaty, he noted, is important because the two parties have been encouraged to get out of the trenches, especially in our region that has been deeply burdened by history and it is important, too, because it somewhat makes our society more confident.

“It is a beautiful thing to treat our neighbors as equals and to make friendships. It would have been nice if the opposition had been present at the session to extend its support,” stated FM Dimitrov.

The friendship treaty was signed on 1 August 2017 by the premiers of the two countries, namely Zoran Zaev and Boyko Borissov, MIA has reported. The agreement aims at strengthening the countries’ friendly relations, advancing good neighborly ties, establishing versatile mutual relations in compliance with the international law.

The friendship treaty between Macedonia and Bulgaria comes as a result of a five-year negotiating process of the working groups of the countries’ foreign ministries and is considered as an upgrade of the 1990 agreement.