Palmer: I expect that Russia will work against the Prespa agreement


Brussels, 12 September, 2018 - 17:21 (META) 

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the United States of America, Matthew Palmer stated in an interview for the portal “European Western Balkans“ that he expects Russia will work against the Prespa agreement.

He also said that USA and Russia have very different ambitions in the Balkans and that the USA supports the ” integration of the region into EU and Euro-Atlantic structures, we support the rule of law European norms harmony between and amongst the nations” while “Russia’s vision of its strategic goals on the Western Balkans are built around distrusts, disorder and opposition to this integration”.

In 2016, Russia attempted to overturn government in Montenegro because it was moving towards membership in the NATO. I expect Russia to work against the Prespan Agreement in Macedonia. I except Russians to work against an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. Moscow feels that its interests are best served by friction and distrust, the US believes that our interest are best served by order and a shared understanding of common future.” said Palmer

When asked about the perspectives of NATO’s enlargement in the Western Balkans, Palmer said that the membership of Montenegro into NATO is a huge advance forward and that he looks forward to Macedonia’s future membership.

“We look forward to welcoming the country that will be North Macedonia as the 30th number in the NATO alliance,” said Palmer including “the invitation that the Alliance issued in July was clear and unambiguous” and that “there is a path to NATO membership that is open for Macedonia in relatively short order.”

Palmer also said that “it requires that the Prespan Agreement enters into force” and he has expressed hope that the Macedonian citizens will accept the Agreement on the 30th of September after which Macedonia will have to make constitutional changes, and Greece will ratify it.”

“And when the Agreement enters into force, I believe that North Macedonia will move forward quickly to NATO membership” stressed Palmer.


Kotzias: The agreement will be ratified and Greece will return its name back


Athens, 7 September, 2018 - 14:18 (META) 

The Agreement from Prespa will be brought by our government at the Parliament and will pass with the absolute majority, with over 150 MPs, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos KOtyias in an interview for the Greek radio “Real FM.”

He claimed that Greece has gained much more than our country which will have to make major changes, but even then it will all depend on Greece.

-Even though our neighboring country will hold a referendum, it is going to be making constitutional changes and it is going to change its name, it will still be dependent on Greece because without the Greek ratification of the Agreement from Prespa, it will not become a member of NATO – said Kotzias.

Talking about the position towards Macedonia he also spoke about Greece’s gain i.e. the country will no longer call itself Macedonia but North Macedonia and with it, the current government has brought the name back.

-Many of my colleagues said that they didn’t address the country as Macedonia in the last 15 years. Thanks to our government, this country will be addressed as North Macedonia even by the Americans. Unfortunately, three-thirds of the world have recognized our neighboring country as Macedonia and luckily with this agreement, it will become North Macedonia. Therefore we claim that we have brought the name back, even though we have not given it, as some have said – said the Head of the Greek diplomacy.

Addressing the disapproval from the coalition partner in the government, Panos Kammenos regarding the ratification of the Agreement, he said that it will not be an obstacle as it is well known how the decisions in the government are made.


VMRO-DPMNE`s position on the referendum will be declared by September 10, says Mickoski


Skopje, 8 August, 2018 - 11:10 (META) 

Yesterday VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski said in an interview with TV “Kanal 5” that he would announce by the 10th of September, weather he would call for the membership to boycott the referendum on 30th of September, or vote against or vote in favour. He went on to deny that his party was seeking amnesty. The SDSM reacted to his claims by saying that regardless, Mickoski had confirmed that his party wanted an amnesty for crimes.

In the same interview, he said that the government’s allegations of the alleged seeking an amnesty by the opposition is a lie. He said that such allegations correlate with the crimes and scandalous awarding of government contracts that shake the SDSM government, and with the claim of seeking amnesty, Zaev and the SDSM are trying to distract the public from the current scandals.

The SDSM says that Mickoski refused to answer directly journalist’s questions and thus confirmed that the only thing the party advocates is an amnesty for past crimes.

The SDSM’s position is that “regardless of the VMRO-DPMNE irresponsible behavior, the people of Macedonia will use the historic opportunity of progress on September 30th”.

“The issue of the referendum is clear and plain – a future or isolation. If Christian Mickoski has a little responsibility and was serious, he would come out and say publicly what option he really wants. All political parties that are truly backing the EU and NATO are united, and only Mickoski and the leadership of VMRO-DPMNE are opposed and isolated to integration in an attempt to defend crime”, the SDSM said.


Russian Embassy: Zaev and Sekerinska are spreading Russophobia, we expect an investigation into allegations


Skopje, 17 July, 2018 - 11:55 (META) 

Yesterday evening, the Russian embassy reacted to allegations from Prime Minister Zoran Zaev that businessmen from Russia financed anti-government protests. Zaev made the statement in an interview with BuzzFeed News and then repeated it in response to a journalist’s question at the start of the construction of the American Dura plant in Bunardzik.

The Embassy believes that the statement was guesswork, similar to those of the Minister of Defense Radmila Sekerinska recently.

“We believe that such statements are guesswork, as well as the recent allegations by the Minister of Defense, Radmila Sekerinska, are aimed at spreading Russophobia, which is increasingly accepted by the Western partners of Macedonia as a tool for achieving its own internal and external political goals. In that context, the honesty of the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia for building friendly relations with the Russian Federation is questionable”, read the statement.

In addition, it calls for an investigation into the Government’s allegations.

“We expect that the Macedonian side, within the legal field of its state and international practice, will conduct a detailed and objective investigation of the allegations that the stated members of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia allude to, and will present it to the public, as well as the Russian side, real facts, not constructions”, read the statement.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation says they are “counterproductive and irresponsible attempts” to intimidate citizens “with a fictitious Russian threat”.


Zaev: It is important that we are not deprived of our identity at home


Skopje, 26 April, 2018 - 13:04 (META) 

It is very important that we are not deprived of our identity at home, not to be disenfranchised, said Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in an interview with Bulgarian TV BTV, while commenting on talks on the name dispute with Greece.

During which, the question of which name is most acceptable did not receive a direct response, but he stressed that it must be looked at realistically and that Macedonia is much larger than today’s Republic of Macedonia, that is, today’s Macedonian state occupies only the upper, northern, Vardar part of Macedonia, and then you have the Pirin part which is part of Bulgaria, and one part which is in Greece.

“We recognize the part of the historical Macedonia that is in Bulgaria, we recognize it as Bulgarian, and there is no dilemma here. We call it the Pirin part, because Pirin is the biggest mountain, but there are citizens of Bulgaria, some of whom feel like Macedonians, and that is their right. We have no problem with that”, said Zaev.

He says the current government has no intention of giving up on a solution to the name dispute with Greece and says that if no solution is found now, there will be more attempts to do so in three, six months…


Dimitrov: With Kotzias we want to resolve the name dispute, but the difference is how to solve it


Sofia, 16 February, 2018 - 12:28 (META) 

In an interview with Bulgarian TV Nova, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikola Dimitrov said he and his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias want to resolve the name dispute, but also have differences about how the problem should be solved.

“We are burdened with own our history. We are a very proud nation, as all the Balkans are. It is important to show to the rest of Europe that here in the Balkans, we can act as Europeans. The battle is between the forces of the future and the forces of the past. I want my people to be able to hold their heads high when we solve something and the way we handle it”, stated Dimitrov.

He pointed out that at the moment, nationalism is weak in Macedonia and that the current government is trying to replace it with “visionary patriotism”.

“That is why we are very grateful to the Bulgarian presidency because, in a difficult situation for Europe – along with “Brexit” and the migrant crisis – the Bulgarian presidency has managed to bring the Western Balkans back on the agenda. It is very important to catch this train. We have been in the waiting room for a long time, it is important to us, it is also important for stability in the region”, said Dimitrov.


Boutaris: The name issue has been ‘inflated’ due to the stupidity of politicians


Thessaloniki, 3 January, 2018 - 19:23 (META) 

You must have good relations with your neighbors. The name issue has been inflated primarily because of the stupidity of politicians. People want to find their identity. With concessions from both sides, but also from the opposition, they are ready for a compromise. Mr. Zaev said he would change the name of the airport, change the street signs, says the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris in an interview with “Praktorio FM” radio of the Greek news agency ANA-MPA, while answering a question about Saturday’s informal meeting in Thessaloniki with the Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

At the same time, Boutaris in the interview says he is the greatest Macedonian, most likely pointing to his birth in the Greek district of Macedonia.

“A greater Macedonia does not exist because of the origin. My origin and my upbringing say everything”, says the Mayor of Thessaloniki, and explains that “he first went to Skopje in 1991 with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry”.

As for the meeting on Saturday held after his invitation to Zaev, Boutaris said that they talked about cooperation.


Papandreou: The name dispute aside, Skopje is our natural ally


Athens, 31 December, 2017 - 16:31 (META) 

The former Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, in an interview for the Greek daily newspaper “Ethnos” said that it seems that the current Macedonian government has understood that the irredentism leads towards a dead end and that, according to him, the name dispute aside Skopje is our natural ally.

-If the current situation will allow a mutually acceptable solution, the wider geopolitical situation will be another reason for us to go a step further. Apart from the name dispute, Skopje is our natural ally. The solution of the problem will allow us to use this strategic position in the Balkans – said Papandreou.

He said that during the times when he served as a Minister of Foreign Affairs they were close to a solution with the Macedonian side. Papandreou mentions the bilateral relations with Nikola Gruevski while they both served as prime ministers and comments that he had a feeling that “Gruevskiis using the Macedonian issue to justify the internal problems.”

The former Greek prime minister also criticized the opposition party New Democracy in the interview because of their request, the coalition partners in the government to agree on a single and joint stance concerning the name dispute.


Zaev did not at any time connect the assassination threats with the Russian Federation, says the Government


Skopje, 10 November, 2017 - 10:29 (META) 

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s statement in the Montenegrin media is based on the experiences of the region and the reactions of the Russian Federation when other countries from the region want to join NATO, stated the government after yesterday’s reactions from Moscow concerning Zaev’s statements in an interview with the Montenegrin radio “Antenna M “.

“In the interview with the Montenegrin media, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev does not at any time suggest that the liquidation threats have any relation with the Russian Federation. The Government of the Republic of Macedonia remains fully committed to the realization of our Euro-Atlantic aspirations and sees no clash of those efforts with the determination to maintain good relations with the Russian Federation”, read the statement.

It states that the strategic determination and interest of Macedonia is membership in the NATO Alliance and the European Union, and at the same time the Government of the Republic of Macedonia is seriously committed to building friendly relations and cooperation with the Russian Federation on a principled democratic level.


Moscow: Zaev’s statements are manic fabrications and an attempt of self-promotion


Skopje, 9 November, 2017 - 18:19 (META) 

The attempt to present Russia as involved in the attempts to liquidate Zoran Zaev is unfounded and damages the relations between the two countries, was the reaction from the Russian Embassy in Macedonia regarding the part of the interview with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev broadcast on Montenegrin radio on Sunday, “Antena-M”.

Zaev’s statements in the interview on a Montenegrin radio were also part of the regular weekly briefing by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova , who said that “such statements not only represent unfounded insinuations and manic fabrications, but essentially resembles attempts to portray oneself as a victim. ”.

The statement from the Russian embassy in Skopje was a shade lighter and more diplomatic.

“With astonishment and concern, we emphasize that in this interview, in the context of last year’s events in Montenegro, the head of the Macedonian government, referring to some “reporters” and “analysts”, deliberately or not, presented the situation in a way that the Russian Federation was allegedly involved in attempts to “liquidate” and prepared such actions against Mr. Zoran Zaev himself. We categorically declare that such claims are unfounded and we consider them as inadmissible. With regret, we conclude that the same people are undermining the atmosphere of trust between our two countries and damaging the many years of mutual beneficial cooperation and contradicting Skopje’s declared readiness to build constructive cooperation with Russia, a desire for the development of friendly relations between our two countries”, reads the statement from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Macedonia.

Unlike the embassy, Zakharova was more direct and used much more strong expressions.

“We believe that such statements not only represent unfounded insinuations and manic fabrications, but essentially resembles attempts to portray oneself as a victim. The essence of these statements are to cause damage to Russian-Macedonian relations and are contrary to Skopje’s declared readiness to build constructive cooperation with our country. The horror expressed in this way only serve as justification for the accelerated deployment of the Balkan countries to the North Atlantic Alliance, even though they still remain outside NATO structures. Because of this, the recent political crisis in Macedonia was also provoked to a large extent. Russia has never interfered in Macedonia’s internal affairs”, said Zakharova.