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Bulgaria: Committee Debates 'Macedonian-Language Issue'

Sofia, 16 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - The National Security Committee of Bulgaria's new Parliament plans to debate the so-called "Macedonian-language issue" at its first session.

Our Sofia corresondent reports the dispute has clouded relations between Sofia and Skopje for almost six years, after Bulgaria was the first country to recognize the independence of Macedonia.

Bulgaria has insisted for over a century that Macedonian is a dialect of Bulgarian. First Belgrade and, since the collapse of Yugoslavia, now Skopje say this linguistic claim is really a thin disguise for territorial ambitions about Macedonia, dating to the break up of the Ottoman Empire.

Skopje remains locked in a dispute with Greece over its name and state symbols, and is still officially referred to as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by the United Nations.