The first ordinary and routine protocol meeting of the new Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska ended with a diplomatic blunder – an hour after receiving a courteous conversation with the Ambassador of Montenegro, the same state introduced new strict restrictions on the entry of Bulgarians into the Balkan country, and our Foreign Ministry did not react in any way: on the contrary, the diplomatic office issued two ridiculous press releases.
It all started with a routine announcement that Minister Genchovska had received the Montenegrin Ambassador Snezana Radovic on the occasion of the end of her term in Bulgaria. Apart from the obvious mistake in the title – Montenegro (Cherna gora/Черна гора) was written with a capital “G”, the text explained how excellent bilateral relations are and how they should be further developed, for example by improving transport links, which are currently almost non-existent.
“Bulgaria and Montenegro are friendly countries that enjoy good and reliable bilateral cooperation,” the new minister was quoted as saying.
Impressive photos of the meeting show that Bulgarian official Sergei Andreev and an employee of the press center are present, but there are no more experienced diplomats such as the director of the Southeast Europe Directorate Vanya Malakova, for example, which is critical, especially in the situation, in which Genchovska was forced by the prime minister to fire her political cabinet, full of retired members of the communist secret services.
This is probably due to the lack of reaction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the decision of Montenegro, announced an hour later by the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the country introduces new aggravating requirements for incoming Bulgarian citizens.
In addition to a green certificate, Bulgarians must present a “negative result from a PCR test conducted within 72 hours of entering Montenegro”.
When asked by Club Z how the entering Bulgarians will present a negative result from a test they have to take 72 hours after entering the country, the Foreign Ministry’s press center said that they meant a test done 72 hours before arriving in the country.
Apart from the confusing instructions for travelers, apparently, none of the diplomats reported to the Minister in time about the letter from our embassy in Podgorica with the new restrictions in order to raise the issue with the ambassador. Apart from political relations, the primary task of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to take care of the interests of Bulgarians abroad and in diplomatic relations, it is considered an exceptional manifestation of bad taste after such a bilateral meeting for one country to impose unfavorable conditions on the other. At least because it puts our country in a ridiculous situation.
It turns out that either the restrictions on Bulgarians were agreed at the meeting with the ambassador and the Bulgarian minister accepted them (which is absurd), or our ministry did not ask them not to be introduced – especially on a day when we explained in diplomatic language our affection for Montenegro. In both cases, this means that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not done its job. At least the protocol farewell meeting with the ambassador could have been postponed as a sign that we do not accept these new measures.