The Friendship Treaty we signed with Bulgaria wasn’t merely to solve our problems but also to build trust and good neighborly relations. We are investing in these relations and we expect Bulgaria to do the same. Decisions to be made this year will definitely influence both bilateral and regional ties, Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska said in response to a reporter asking if she was optimistic about the start of the first Intergovernmental Conference.
“We expect from countries that have opened the doors,” Minister Shekerinska said, “to now show the same goodwill, interest and desire to help the region move forward.”
“There are things my colleague Karakachanov and I don’t agree on and we probably will never agree on, but there’s one thing we are being paid to do right, which is to make sure the region we live in is secure and safe.
“We have to invest in this security and safety by nurturing good neighborly ties and by solving our problems.”
“Outcomes tend to be better when we lead our discussions based on evidence toward finding a solution instead of using emotion to try to force a solution,” Shekerinska added. “As a government, we’ll continue to represent our country and resolve issues this way.”
According to her, the future of the region has nothing to do with optimism or pessimism.
The future of Southeastern Europe depends on people and politicians, she noted, reiterating that Bulgaria was the country that put the Western Balkans back on the EU enlargement agenda, with great success.
In the meantime, Shekerinska said, Albania and North Macedonia succeeded in meeting the EU requirements and received the green light from all member states to open negotiations.
Bulgaria is now expected to show the same commitment to our mutual interests and to the region, she added.
“We have reached several agreements for joint defense activities. We have increased the frequency of exercises, and Bulgaria is interested in participating in the so-called air-policing over our territory, as well.
“This cooperation in defense can work and produce results only if we, the decision makers, sustain it with good neighborliness.”
Since we have decided to build friendly relations, the Defense Minister said, we should try to solve our problems instead of making things more difficult.
“The element of surprise should not factor in our decisions,” Shekerinska said. “We simply need to resolve what is in front of us. This goes both ways; for us and for the Republic of Bulgaria.”