Bulgaria’s MFA condemned the Decision of North Macedonia to Erase a Bulgarian Association

Bulgarian Cultural Center "Ivan Mihailov"

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) defined as unprincipled and tendentious the decision of the authorities in North Macedonia to erase from the central register the Bulgarian association "Ivan Mihailov" Cultural Center in Bitola.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed strong concern over the consistent actions of North Macedonia to limit the rights of association and free expression of the Bulgarian community.

The decision of the authorities in our south-western neighbor to erase the "Ivan Mihailov" Cultural Center association was commented by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kostadin Kodjabashev as follows:

"The institutions in Skopje did not present any real arguments for contesting the registration of the Bulgarian associations. They made their decision solely and only by unilaterally and tendentially placing the names of the associations in a distorted, historical and ideological context. The fact that the beliefs of Bulgarians in North Macedonia are not compatible with the current official ideological doctrine in this country, does not mean that these beliefs are incompatible with democratic principles and legal order".

Kodjabashev disagreed with the assessments and qualifications for Ivan Mihailov in North Macedonia. In his words, they "are aimed at preserving the monopoly of a deliberate and revisionist interpretation of our common history. The accusations of anti-Semitism are particularly unfounded."

The Deputy Foreign Minister recalled that the authorities in Skopje have made a clear commitment to actions to ensure the Bulgarian community there effective access to equal rights, protection from discrimination and protection of cultural heritage and identity.

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