Bulgaria’s Defense Minister Anyu Angelov has expressed the Bulgarian government’s support for an „open-door“ NATO policy towards Macedonia at a meeting with his Macedonian counterpart Fatmir Besimi.
During Angelov and Basimi’s meeting in Sofia Thursday, officials from the Defense Ministries of Bulgaria and Macedonia signed a Bilateral Cooperation Plan in Defense for 2012, which focuses on exchange of experts, training, education, and opportunities for joint military drills.
„We consistently support NATO’s open-door policy in the Balkans, and hope that a decision for Macedonia’s accession to the Alliance will be reached very soon,“ Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov stated.
Unlike Albania and Croatia, Macedonia was not admitted to NATO at the Bucharest Summit in 2008 because of Greece’s veto as a result of the so called name dispute between the two countries. Even though the dispute has not been resolved, Macedonia hopes to see progress in its accession bid at the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago in May.
Bulgaria’s Defense Minister Angelov did criticize the incident in which last the Bulgarian Ambassador in Skopje Ivan Petkov was attacked by nationalist „hooligans“ in Skopje when trying to honor the grave of Gotse Delchev, a Bulgarian revolutionary and freedom-fighter from Macedonia.
At the same time, Angelov noted the support that he got from the Macedonian Defense Ministry and Minister Fatmir Besimi for the remembrance ceremony held at the Bulgarian military cemetery in Macedonia’s Novo Selo on May 6, St. George’s Day, and Day of the Bulgarian Army Valor.