Certain geographical references in the proposed compromise in the Macedonia-Greece name dispute might be unacceptable to Bulgaria, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov hinted in Slovenia.
"We will support every compromise name for Macedonia, but seeking a name in a geographical aspect can generate public tension in Bulgaria," Parvanov stated in Ljubljana at a joint news conference with Slovenian President Danilo Turk on Monday, as cited by Focus.
The notorious name dispute between Macedonia and Greece has been going on since the former declared independence in 1991. Greece is concerned that the recognition of Macedonia's name could allow it to have territorial claims for it since much of northern Greece is also in the geographic region of Macedonia. The dispute has led Greece to technically block Maccedonia's accession to NATO and the EU; it has been the reason that Macedonia is a member of the UN under the name "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia."
The latest suggestions by the Greek government for a compromise name of Macedonia mentioned last week by Greece's Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas have been "Northern Macedonia" and "Upper Macedonia."
Speaking in Ljubljana Monday, Parvanov warned that a geographically-based compromise name for the Republic of Macedonia can cause tensions in among the Bulgarian citizens, and "not so much among the institutions."
"I am giving as an example what is heard these days - compromise names such as "Northern Macedonia" or "Upper Macedonia" must be commented keeping in mind the fact that Pirin Maceodnia, which is Bulgarian territory, is also part of Northern and Upper Macedonia. What would the population of this part of Bulgaria say?" Parvanov told journalists in the Slovenian capital.
"But let our friends find a common name, we Bulgarians will find a way to express our constructive position," the Bulgarian President said reminding that Bulgaria was the first sovereign nation to recognize the independence of Macedonia, and to do so under its constitutional name.
He further noted that Macedonia no doubt had to have an European perspective, and that the sooner the name dispute is settled, the sooner its way towards the EU and NATO membership will be opened.
"Greece and Macedonia must make there choice based on the already proposed names. We must also take into account the delicate moments, which President Parvanov mentioned," Slovenia's President Danilo Turk said in turn. (Source: Sofia News Agency)