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(DF) Sofia Furious over Analysis by Slovenia-Based Institute, Summons North Macedonia Ambassador

March 27 (BTA) – An analysis of the upcoming general elections in Bulgaria published by a Slovenia-based research institute has infuriated Bulgaria. The Foreign Ministry in Sofia Saturday called it “a libellous campaign conducted against Bulgaria by the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES)” and said it would summon the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of North Macedonia to demand a explanation if the government in Skopje is involved in the campaign. The report is focused on the political players in the campaign and paints an offputting picture of Bulgaria using the opposition’s full catalogue of allegations against the power holders. It also slams Bulgaria’s position in its standoff with the Republic of North Macedonia over matters of history and culture, and anti-Bulgarian sentiments (the document is entitled “2021 Elections in Bulgaria: Bulgarian ‘assault’ on North Macedonia”). Fnally, it offers a grossly distorted version of Bulgarian history going back to Ottoman rule. The Foreign Ministry voiced its extreme concern at reports that former or present advisors to the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia are on the IFIMES leadership. The Foreign Ministry added that the website of North Macedonia’s executive says the Slovenian organization worked under contract with the government in Skopje between 2017 and 2020 and was paid 1,000 euro a month. The Foreign Ministry said IFIMES published a series of articles with the obvious purpose of discrediting and harming the reputation of Bulgaria through untrue, distorted and manipulative information. “At the same time, we are concerned by the continuing discriminatory actions of the authorities in the Republic of North Macedonia. A Bulgarian citizen, Viktor Stoyanov, was stopped at the border on Saturday. He was trying to take Bulgarian books (“Bulgarian Folk Songs”, a collection by Dimiter and Konstantin Miladinov) to the Republic of North Macedonia under a donation agreement with the Bulgarian Culture and Information Centre in Skopje,” said the Foreign Ministry.