Tuesday, 18 January 2022
MEETING BETWEEN PRESIDENT XHAFERI AND PRIME MINISTER PETKOV
Today, the President of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, Mr Talat Xhaferi, had a meeting with Mr Kiril Petkov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria.
President Xhaferi expressed particular satisfaction with the meeting, which is among the first in the foreign policy agenda of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, showing openness and readiness to introduce new, fresh trends in politics towards neighbouring countries. He underscored the efforts of the Republic of North Macedonia to build good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation with all countries in the region and beyond and highlighted that the improvement of bilateral relations with the Republic of Bulgaria is essential for our country. President Xhaferi expressed confidence that the signing of the Agreement on Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation between the two countries in 2017 is a significant step forward in the history of their mutual relations, confirming the commitment to mutual respect and understanding. He stated that it presents a good basis for advancing the cooperation between the two countries and expressed the expectation that cooperation will be further strengthened and improved in the future.
Regarding the mutual parliamentary cooperation, the President of the Assembly stated that it is necessary to continue and intensify that cooperation through more contacts, both at the highest level and through cooperation at the level of parliamentary working bodies and friendship groups. In the future, more attention and interest must be paid to improving infrastructural connection between the two countries through Corridor 8, and above all the road, railway, energy and digital connection, which will enable the promotion of business cooperation between the two countries and greater exchange of people, goods and services for which there is huge potential. Corridor 8 will connect the Black Sea with the Adriatic Sea, overcoming the regional context and enabling greater regional influence globally.
Concerning the start of negotiations for membership in the European Union, i.e. holding the First Intergovernmental Conference, President Xhaferi emphasized that this is extremely important for the country and according to him, the membership of the Republic of North Macedonia will be in the interest of all Balkan countries, and especially of Bulgaria. Prime Minister Petkov expressed great satisfaction with the visit and all the meetings and talks he had the opportunity to have. He informed that government working groups have already been agreed and they are expected to have working meetings at least once a month. He expects the Skopje-Sofia airline to be established soon, which will enable better communication between the citizens of the two countries. He pointed out that around 65 million people live in the Balkan region and in different circumstances, such as without barriers and with good neighbourly relations, the business ties would improve and a better picture for the whole region would be created worldwide. He supported the initiative for intensification of the parliamentary cooperation and stated that visits at the highest parliamentary level should take place soon. The Republic of Bulgaria will truly be part of the European Union when the other countries in the region join the EU and only then will all the benefits of the membership in the Union be felt.
In the end, the two interlocutors agreed that greater mutual cooperation and support is needed in the future, in order to improve the region and the living standards of citizens.