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(DF) Nationalist Party Blasts U.S. for “Pressuring” Bulgaria to Respect Rights of “Macedonian Minority,” Embassy Denies Allegations

January 14 (BTA) – The nationalist non-parliamentary party VMRO on Friday lashed out against a position allegedly expressed by a senior U.S. diplomat about “joint work with the Bulgarian Government for protection of a ‘Macedonian minority’ in Bulgaria”. The U.S. Embassy in Sofia later denied the allegation. VMRO Deputy Chairman and Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament Angel Dzhambazki wrote on Facebook that in an interview for the Macedonian Service of the Voice of America (VOA) that has already been extensively covered in the media in North Macedonia, Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Gabriel Escobar reportedly said that “the U.S. Embassy in Sofia is working with the Bulgarian Government on addressing respect for the rights of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria.” “The allegation, moreover made by a representative of a country which purports to be our ally, undermines the Bulgarian position which is ultimately based solely and exclusively on the historic truth,” Dzhambazki wrote in a letter to Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska. “The Macedonian question policy, implemented so far by the new U.S. administration, is rightly perceived by the entire Bulgarian public as unscientific, unhistoric and definitely anti-Bulgarian,” the MEP writes further on. He describes a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria as a “a historic fake” and “a base and despicable lie invented by Belgrade, Moscow and the Comintern 90 years ago in order to attack Bulgaria”. quotes the MEP as saying that “if this information [the quotation from Escobar’s interview] is correct, in his capacity as an official representing the U.S., Mr Escobar is using hostile Comintern propaganda organized by the Kremlin since 1934. He practically repeats and backs Russian disinformation that falsifies Bulgarian history.” At the end of his letter, Dzhambazki “kindly asks” the Government “to resign immediately and voluntarily” if the “scandalous and anti-Bulgarian allegation” attributed to the U.S. diplomat proves to be true. “The U.S. government has not raised the minority issues in question with the Bulgarian government,” the U.S. Embassy in Sofia said in a position later on Friday. “Our discussions with the Bulgarian government are focused on our shared vision for a stronger, more prosperous, and united Europe through integration of all its parts, including the Western Balkans,” the Embassy said further. “The United States supports the efforts of the Bulgarian and North Macedonian governments to work together, along with the European Union, to resolve their bilateral issues,” the position reads. It was prompted by what it describes as “several misconceptions concerning U.S. policy in the region” to which “a recent interview broadcast by the VOA Macedonian Service gave rise”. The Bulgarian National Television has a full transcript of Escobar’s interview, which shows that the expression “Macedonian minority” was used by the interviewer and not in the interviewee’s answer. He declined the question about the U.S. Embassy in Sofia and said that the United States and Bulgaria have a fruitful and meaningful cooperation. LN/LG