Friday, July 28, 2006

Skopje Turbulent over Sofia EU-Support Ambiguous Statements

Macedonia's diplomacy has handed down a diplomatic note to Bulgarian envoy, in furious reaction against a Sofia statement it would support conditionally Skopje for EU membership.

The words interpreted as condition came from Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin who, at a diplomatic rendezvous on Monday, called to Skopje for "observation of the principles of good neighbourhood and lack of aggression towards the Bulgarian nation and history".

In an immediate reaction Skopje's envoy to Sofia Abdurahman Aliti wanted explanations from the Foreign Ministry in Sofia, but the scheduled meeting was jeopardized.

According to Macedonian media, Aliti was insulted as a diplomat by being offered to talk to a low-echelon official. According to Sofia, the Macedonian ambassador cancelled the meeting himself.

Meanwhile, media from both sides of the border commented that Kalfin's "quite undiplomatic" statement was triggered by the recent re-founding of the separatist party OMO Ilinden-Pirin. The move has apparently favoured the diplomatic support of the envoy, Abdurahman Aliti, reports say.

The diplomatic scandal raged few weeks after it became known high-profile Macedonian politicians have received Bulgarian passports on the grounds of Bulgarian origin.

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