Press release

15 October 2021

Regarding the monument in memory of the 193 Bulgarian soldiers killed in World War I, near the route of the Gradsko-Prilep expressway, section “Farish-Drenovo”, Kavadarci, about which accusations appeared in the media against North Macedonia, please allow us to inform about the following:

According to the report of the Directorate for Protection of Cultural Heritage – Ministry of Culture, and the Public Enterprise for State Roads – Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of North Macedonia, which performed an extraordinary inspection, the following was concluded:

First, the main monument is not included as a protected monument or cultural heritage, but regardless of that, it is in good condition, without any damages;

Second, the monument is surrounded by agricultural land which is cultivated in a manner that bypasses this monument;

Third, the monument is outside of the projected zone for carrying out of the permanent works and it is not affected by any construction works and following the performed inspection on site it is concluded that it is without any visible damages.

The situation on site shows that at this moment, the monument is physically separated from the route on which construction works are being carried out on the Prilep-Gradsko expressway with a temporary protective fence which is to be replaced with a permanent protective fence planned with the Primary Construction Project. After the construction of this fence, the free space between it and the monument will be about 4 meters. Upon the completion of works there will be an access path to the monument so that it will be accessible to interested visitors. 

Fourth, there are is no cemetery or tombs near this monument, and according to the on-site inspection, it is not known whether this situation was different in the past. About 100 meters from this monument, a second, smaller monument was found, whose origin is not known. 

With the established factual situation by the competent authorities, we want to reject all accusations that have appeared in the public and to address an appeal to all involved individuals and institutions to be careful and not fall for obvious provocation whose intention is to jeopardise the good neighbourly relations between the two countries, and the efforts of the two ministries to find joint solutions to overcome the differences.

It is particularly worrying that the trend of appearance of such speculations has intensified lately, which shows that this is an organised approach for their abuse, and therefore we want to further warn of caution and responsible behaviour.