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(DF) Bulgaria’s Parliament Chair in Skopje: Our Two Countries Used to be Neighbours, Now We Are Strategic Allies within NATO

February 11 (BTA) – Bulgaria’s Parliament Chair Tsveta Karayancheva met with her North Macedonian counterpart Talat Xhaferi in Skopje. She expressed her satisfaction with North Macedonia’s successful journey toward NATO accession, as well as her hope that the two countries will soon be partners in the EU, the National Assembly press service informed on Tuesday. Karayancheva pointed out that Bulgaria and North Macedonia “were just neighbours and now they are strategic allies in NATO”. She added that Bulgaria’s Parliament will continue to support the efforts of North Macedonia, and Bulgarian MPs will gladly share their experience in fields of interest to their North Macedonian colleagues. She also emphasized that Bulgaria was one of the first countries to ratify North Macedonia’s NATO accession protocol. She pointed out that Bulgaria continues to be one of the staunchest supporters of North Macedonia’s EU perspectives, but that our support has never been unconditional. Karayancheva added that Bulgaria expects all political parties in North Macedonia to act responsibly and show foresight when discussing the Good Neighborliness Treaty with Bulgaria, especially in the run-up to the elections. Bulgaria will support a decision of the European Council as early as in March 2020 on the start of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. Later on Tuesday, Karayancheva conferred with President Stevo Pendarovski. Meeting with him, she recalled that the Goodneighbourliness Treaty with North Macedonia was supported by all parliamentary groups in the Bulgarian Parliament. It is important for Bulgaria to see this document fully implemented and this implementation will remain a condition for Bulgaria’s support after a decision is made on the start of talks with the EU, regardless of the composition of the new government in North Macedonia, said Karayancheva. She expressed Bulgaria’s expectation for the joint multidisciplinary commission on historical and educational issues to resume work immediately and produce tangible results. The Bulgarian parliamentary delegation was invited to attend the sitting of North Macedonia’s Parliament when the protocol on North Macedonia’s NATO accession will be ratified. The Bulgarian delegation also included the chairman of the parliamentary friendship group Bulgaria – North Macedonia, Boris Vangelov, deputy chair Toma Bikov and members Zhelyo Boychev, Velislava Krasteva and Polina Tsankova-Hristova. RY/MT/LN/ //