VMRO-DPMNE member of Parliament and head of the Committee on Foreign Relations Antonio Miloshoski said that the Government should not speed into signing the friendship treaty with Bulgaria, with pre-determined dates before the agreement has been made yet, and called for further work to improve the text of the treaty. Miloshoski spoke after the closed Committee session at which Prime Minister Zoran Zaev explained the text of the treaty that was agreed between his and the Bulgarian Governments which Zaev hopes to be signed on August 2nd, the anniversary of the 1903 Ilinden Uprising.
“We believe that the Government should not be hasty and chase after dates for signing the treaty. We need to have a quality text which will include a mutual agreement that will ensure mutual respect between both nations and states, between both cultures, and will ensure cooperation and good neighborly perspective between Macedonia and Bulgaria”, Miloshoski said.
Without disclosing details about the agreement, Miloshoski listed the objections which he has, such as the fact that, unlike the 1999 Declaration, this will be an internationally and legally binding treaty whose effects may be seen in five, 15 or more years. One issue which Miloshoski raised is whether the Macedonian people will be mentioned in the treaty. “We believe that if this is a treaty of friendship and good will, it should not be a problem for either politicians in Sofia or in Skopje to name the Macedonian people in the treaty”, Miloshoski said. Another thorny issue is whether the Macedonian language will be listed as an objective fact, or merely as the language named in the Macedonian Constitution.
“A third objection we have is that Zoran Zaev appears prepared to sign a bilateral treaty which contains at least one article that is contrary to article 49 from the Macedonian Constitution, which lists the obligation of the state to care about Macedonians living outside of its borders”, Miloshoski added. Both Macedonia and Bulgaria had problems registering political organizations of their respective minorities in the past. Another issue raised by Miloshoski is the very phrase “shared history”, which is being used, without naming that the two peoples also have separate historic developments.
Miloshoski said that, because of all these reasons, and because of the clearly asymmetry in the rights and obligations of the two sides, it is important for the Macedonian Foreign Affairs Ministry to understand that this draft text is not final and that the objections VMRO-DPMNE has are included in the final version. “We, as members of Parliament from the Coalition for a Better Macedonia, will support a treaty which will name the Macedonian people, will confirm the Macedonian language, will have a balance in the obligations between both Macedonia and Bulgaria, and will draw a clear line of distinction between the shared and the exclusive historic developments. If this draft text remains unchanged, it will be clear that the hearing we had today was merely a public relations exercise on the part of the Government”, said Miloshoski.