SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin said on Monday (24 July) that while Bulgaria backs Macedonia's EU membership bid, its support depends on certain conditions. Speaking to Bulgaria's diplomatic corps, Kalfin urged Skopje to respect the principles of good-neighbourly relations and refrain from "aggression towards the Bulgarian nation or history".
The Macedonian authorities have reacted strongly to Kalfin's statement, saying they will seek an official explanation. Media in both countries suggest the minister's comments stemmed from pressure on Bulgaria to recognise a self-proclaimed ethnic Macedonian party, OMO Ilinden-Pirin. (Sega - 25/07/06; BNR, Mediapool, Darik, Makfax, MRT, Telma TV - 24/07/06)