Sat, 01 Oct 1994

On Macedonia

I am a regular reader of The Jakarta Post and I appreciate it very highly. But the article Balkan knives on Macedonian pie (The Jakarta Post, Sept. 26, 1994) reported by Inter Press Service from Bulgaria is incompetent and misleading.

Nobody in Bulgaria, even the aggressive nationalists, would consider Macedonia a pie, nobody in Bulgaria prepares a knife or anything worse against this neighboring country. I do not know of anyone who would call Macedonia "West Bulgaria," as the author of the article states.

Further, the author claims that "having fought four wars this century primarily over the question of Macedonia, Bulgaria is reluctant to get involved there again." This is wrong, because first: the wars were actually not four, but three and none of them were fought "primarily over the question of Macedonia," second: Bulgaria is not only reluctant to get involved there again but, I can assure you, the Bulgarian Government and the vast majority of ordinary Bulgarians are very removed from the idea of any kind of involvement "there again" except through free trade, economic cooperation and good neighborly relations.

The article also quotes one of the advisors of the Bulgarian President: "If Macedonia were to catch fire, if war were to break out there, it would be much worse than in Bosnia."

In my capacity as ambassador I telephoned from Jakarta to the man in the presidency there and received this answer: No, he has never said that, it must have been a misunderstanding.

The article abounds in sentences like "many Bulgarian leaders see conflict as a real possibility," or "Bulgarians say Macedonia is trying to usurp their history." This is bad journalism, to say the least.

Instead of such dubious information, it would be better if The Jakarta Post publishes interviews with people involved in foreign policy, or, at least, responsible people who know what they are saying.


Ambassador of

the Republic of