FYROM and Bulgaria upset over the issue of FYROM soldiers in the Bulgarian army
Lots of turmoil both in FYROM and Bulgaria, this time about the issue of taking soldiers from FYROM in the Bulgarian army according to a report from FYROM’s Nova Makedonija.
Nikolay Tsonev, former Bulgarian minister of defense and now leader of a political party, denounced Thursday the Bulgarian authorities, which, according to him, are going to let soldiers from FYROM become part of the Bulgarian army only based on their Bulgarian citizenship.
“It is incomprehensible to give foreign citizens the responsibility of protecting the fundamental Bulgarian patriotic values,” Tsonev said.
The Bulgarian VMRO political party had earlier urged the authorities in Sofia to get in touch with the former soldiers of the FYROM Army and accept them in their army. According to this political party, soldiers coming from the Macedonian region serving in the ranks of the Bulgarian armed forces is an old Bulgarian army tradition.
“This year, we mark the 110th anniversary of the largest and best organized Bulgarian uprising in Thrace and Macedonia. The tradition of Bulgarians from Macedonia serving in the ranks of the Bulgarian army is old.”
Furthermore the Bulgarian political party made it explicit that Dozens of Bulgarian generals, thousands of officers and fighters that served their Bulgarian homeland were born in the territory of present-day FYROM.
However, Ilija Todev, former professional soldier of the FYROM’s Army and spokesman for those that launched the initiative of the soldiers from FYROM for joining the Bulgarian army, says they decided to take this step not because of certain ethnic motives but because of poverty considering, as he claimed, that FYROM’s authorities have turned professional soldiers into social cases.
“We defended our country during the hardest of times and now, after the war, they have forgotten about us and have put us on the margins of society.”
He further explained that they are going to appeal for a meeting on 18 August, the Army Day in FYROM, with the Bulgarian embassy and government officials where they would present their problem and try to secure their existence by taking out Bulgarian passports.
According to the president of the independent trade union of professional Army soldiers in FYROM, this is a provocation from Bulgaria and the Bulgarian VMRO.
He said he has no information how man people are members of the coordination body led by Todev and how many decided to take this step.
On the other hand, according to Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin, the fifth round of talks of the expert groups working on the good-neighborliness agreement between Skopje and Sofia is to take place in late August or early September at the latest.