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No Progress in Sofia-Skopje Talks

The Prime Minister’s Chef de Cabinet Lena Borislavova told the Bulgarian National Television on Sunday that Bulgaria and North Macedonia would not hold a joint government conference in Skopje on May 22 because there was no document showing that their talks had made progress. Borislavova said there was no document to work on under the Treaty of Friendship, Good-neighbourliness and Cooperation of 2017.
Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on Friday that he would lead a delegation to Skopje on May 22. “The Bulgarian government and the Prime Minister would like to see some evidence that the Republic of North Macedonia is taking seriously hate speech and the discrimination against ethnic Bulgarians. These are the next steps we expect to see before we continue working,” said Borislavova.
North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski said that the two governments would not hold a joint conference on May 22 “due to agendas not allowing this,” the Media Information Agency (MIA) of Skopje reported on Saturday. He added that he would lead a ministerial delegation to Rome for the May 24 commemoration of Sts Cyril and Methodius, the inventors of the Cyrillic alphabet. “The ministries of foreign affairs of North Macedonia and Bulgaria are exchanging ideas, but have not yet agreed on a joint solution that could represent a foundation for mutual agreement,” Kovachevski also said.
On Sunday, Borislavova denied that Sofia was under strong external pressure to lift the veto on EU accession talks with Skopje, but spoke of attempts at domestic destabilization on the subject of North Macedonia.