site.btaOsmani: Option for Meeting with Bulgarians in North Macedonia Is Always Open
North Macedonia's Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani said on Tuesday he expected that the meeting with representatives of the Bulgarian community in his country would be with him, instead of "in Sofia or Brussels". He added that all along he has insisted that the citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia, "regardless of their ethnic origin, have their government and institutions to which they can address their problems and questions".
Osmani gave a news conference after meeting with his Czech counterpart Jan Lipavsky in Skopje.
Asked if and when he will meet with representatives of the Bulgarians in North Macedonia, Osmani replied that this option is always possible, but due to the recent deterioration in communication with Bulgaria he is waiting for emotions to subside so that the state's normal agenda towards its citizens can continue.
"The arguments are on our side. We have to be wise and mature and keep up the support of our European partners. It is not in our interest to get into the vortex of the Bulgarian elections. We respond to everything that comes from Bulgaria with all diplomatic instruments, including in the EU, so that the EU countries can be informed, but we should not involve the citizens. They should be reassured that they have institutions that care about them," Osmani said.
In his words, the Republic of North Macedonia is known for its attitude towards the citizens' collective and individual rights and this is "the brightest point of the country's image".
"The state treats and will treat all citizens equally, regardless of their ethnic origin. The Bulgarian community is showing more interest in being cared for by the state and that is what all these attempts at communication are about, but there should not be abuse through isolated incidents aimed to create the perception in the world that there is a systematic repression of communities here - because this is not the case," Osmani said.
He stated that over the past years, the Republic of North Macedonia and Bulgaria have created a framework through which differences and communication between the two countries should be channelled, but it has not always been dominant, one of the reasons being the frequent elections in Bulgaria.
"In the two years that I have been minister, these will be the fifth elections and the fifth foreign minister that I will have worked with. This creates unpredictability in communication and maintaining that goodwill. It is usually the electoral processes that heat up the situation because there are politicians who, being unable to offer anything to the citizens, grasp at the backup matters that breed emotions. It is not only in our country and in Bulgaria that this happens," Osmani said.
He expressed belief that over the years, the Republic of North Macedonia has shown wisdom and maturity, not succumbing to what is dictated by the political electoral processes or what is supported by an invisible hand that aims to maintain permanent latent conflicts in the region. Osmani urged Bulgaria to break the cycle of negative relations which is not in the interests of either country. He expressed hope that the positive agenda in the relations with Bulgaria will return.