Macedonia and Bulgaria kick off expert debate on historical, educational issues


The governments of Macedonia and Bulgaria have set up the joint multi-disciplinary commission of experts on historical and educational issues and the joint inter-governmental commission in accordance with the countries' Treaty on Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation.

The expert commission is expected to have its first meeting in Sofia in the coming days.

The government has appointed university professor Dragi Gjorgiev - member of the National History Institute and the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts - as coordinator of the joint expert commission, while Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov has been named chairman of the joint inter-governmental commission, government spokesman Mile Bosnjakovski told MIA on Monday.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, using positive international experiences in regards to similar processes, has completed the procedure for the establishment of commissions - the joint multi-disciplinary commission of experts on historical and educational issues and the joint inter-governmental commission in accordance with the Treaty on Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation signed by Macedonia and Bulgaria. The coming phase involves regular meetings of the commissions according to the jointly defined dynamic, tasked with advancing the countries' bilateral cooperation for the purpose of further improvement of the good neighborly relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria," said spokesman Bosnjakovski.

Bulgaria unveiled the names of the members of the joint multidisciplinary expert commission, including its head, last week. Angel Dimitrov, Bulgaria's first ambassador to Macedonia, will be at the helm of the commission. Speaking to the media, he said that the negotiations with the Macedonian counterparts would be difficult and that he hoped the structure of the Macedonian commission would be such 'it will enable the talks to have normal development.' He pledged the Bulgarian team would demonstrate 'good intentions contained in the friendship treaty.'

Some Bulgarian media, citing a statement of a former rector of the Sofia University, have reported that the maiden meeting of the joint expert meeting will take place tomorrow in Sofia.

Macedonia and Bulgaria signed the friendship treaty in August 2017 in Skopje. The agreement entered into force in February 2018.

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