Zaev: We celebrate our past and will build our common future with Bulgaria

Skopje, 10 August, 2018 - 12:12 (META) 

Do not doubt – the friendship between Macedonia and Bulgaria is sincere. Together we will celebrate and honour our past and on its foundation we will continue building our common future, wrote Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on the social network “Facebook” this morning in response to a recent debate in Bulgaria for the relations of both countries.

“I see in a friendly Bulgaria a public debate has started and even the question is raised whether the two nations are building sincere friendship and cooperation. I want to urge all people, even critics in Macedonia and Bulgaria, to have no dilemma that friendship and cooperation are sincere. For more than a year we celebrate common parts of the history between the two nations, we celebrate several occasions together with historical events. Dear friends and brothers from Bulgaria, believe that we are sincerely building a friendship that has been lost for decades. It was a loss for the two countries. We found our friend and brother again. Let’s not go back in the past. It is our duty to our children. Sometimes we, the politicians, are not careful enough, so sometimes, we make mistakes, but I assure you that this is only carelessness, because we sincerely wish for cooperation and friendship, therefore we signed the agreement regarding good neighborly relations and friendship”, Zaev wrote.

He recalled that Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva fought for Macedonia at the Council of Europe’s Council of Ministers and Macedonia to get a date for starting negotiations with the EU.

The disputes between the government and the Bulgarian opposition were challeged by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev with his statement during the Ilinden holiday when he said that the Ilinden uprising is Macedonian, if a citizen from Bulgaria wants to honour it – let them honour it.

THP against new controversial Kosovo ambassador, Gjergj Dedaj

Skopje, 7 August, 2018 - 16:43 (META) 

The Macedonia Turkish Movement Party (THP) has sent a letter to President Gjorge Ivanov and Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov asking that they prevent the appointment of current Deputy Foreign Minister of Kosovo, Gjergj Dedaj, as ambassador to Macedonia.

“The Macedonian Turkish Movement Party, as well as the entire Turkish population in Macedonia, and beyond, with a great deal of disappointment and bitterness, received the news that the new ambassador of Kosovo to Macedonia will be Gjergj Dedaj. Mr Dedaj, while serving as deputy minister to Kosovo repeatedly made scandalous, insulting and completely fascist statements regarding the Turkish people. We categorically believe that a person who has this kind of fascist and primitive mentality should in no case be an ambassador in a country that makes every effort to foster and promote a multi-ethnic society as a huge benefit,” reads the letter.

The party, which is led by Enes Ibrahim, says that by accepting Dedaj as an ambassador “will result negatively on the multiethnic relations in our country and the region, but will also negatively affect our friendship with Turkey.”

Gjergj Dedaj provoked a fierce reaction from the public in Kosovo last month, following a post on his Facebook profile titled “Witches of the Balkans”, in which he said that Turkey and Serbia, through their emissaries, are trying to “return” to Kosovo and demanded “the remnants of these invaders be eradicated from Kosovo and from lands of George Castriot. ”
MPs from Group 6+ and the people’s choice of smaller ethnic communities in the Kosovo Parliament, urged Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj to dismiss Dedaj as Deputy Minister last week over his insulting statements regarding the Republic of Turkey.

Kurz will visit Macedonia to support the referendum on 7th of September

Vienna, 6 August, 2018 - 12:12 (META) 

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, will visit Macedonia on 7th of September, three weeks before the scheduled referendum regarding the name, which should resolve the dispute with Greece.

Kurz visits Macedonia at the invitation of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, who has also invited several other European leaders before the referendum.

During Zaev’s last visit in Vienna, at the end of June, Kurtz appealed to the citizens of Macedonia to vote in the referendum for the new name “Northern Macedonia”.

“The agreement concerning the name of the country with Greece is a decisive progress in the process of Macedonia’s accession to the EU”, Kurts emphasized.

According to him, achieving progress regarding the European perspective is one of the priorities of the Austrian presidency with the EU.

“EU is not complete without the Western Balkans countries”, underlined Kurtz.

He told the Austrian media that Prime Minister Zaev wants to discuss the progress regarding the screening process.

Calls for 4,000 Greek firms to act swiftly to protect the “Macedonia” in names and brands

Thessaloniki, 19 July, 2018 - 14:24 (META) 

The Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE) is offering free assistance to Greek companies to protect the term “Macedonia” in the name of their products and trademarks, reports Greek newspaper “Ekathimreini”.

Athanasios Savvakis, the president of the SBBE, says the federation will offer free assistance to some 4,000 Greek enterprises to protect the name in international markets. He went on to say he was concerned that enterprises could face problems regarding the agreement to settle the name dispute with Macedonia and urged Greek companies to act swiftly.

He said this ought to be done through the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante, Spain for activities within the European Union, and through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland, for other international activities.

Savvakis observed that Greek enterprises had shown considerable negligence on the issue and revealed that the Geneva office had received no Greek applications for Greek protection of the name, while two applications had already been submitted from “FYROM companies”, reports the Greek newspaper.

Only 24 Greek companies have registered the name “Macedonia” for the territory within the EU at the Alicante office.

Moscow: The agreement concerning the name, instead of consensus, provoked additional friction

Moscow, 18 July, 2018 - 19:21 (META) 

The solution for the name should be based on a broad social consensus and an impeccable constitutional basis. With the Prespa Agreement this is not the case. It just caused additional schisms in both Greece and the Republic of Macedonia, said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at today’s press briefing, stated the Russian Embassy in Skopje via their Twitter account.

“We are confused by the statement of Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev that some businessmen who are sympathetic to Russia are allegedly financing an anti-government protest movement in Macedonia, concerning the agreement reached with Greece. The purpose of these allegations at Moscow’s expense are aimed at creating anti-Russian hysteria. There is no evidence, nor will there be anything that could confirm the words of Zoran Zaev”, said Zakharova.


Zaev for “BuzzFeed News”: Pro-Russian businessmen are paying for violent protests in Macedonia

Skopje, 16 July, 2018 - 15:09 (META) 

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, in an interview with “BuzzFeed News”, said pro-Russian businessmen are trying to stop the country from joining NATO by paying for violent protests.

Zoran Zaev said his government has received multiple reports that “Greek businessmen” who are “sympathetic to the Russian cause” paid Macedonians amounts ranging from $13,000 to $21,000 to “commit acts of violence” ahead of the crucial referendum later this year that will determine whether the Balkan state will be able to join the military alliance.

“The Russian representatives who were here, and also others from Moscow, [don’t] hide themselves that they are against our integration in NATO. Part of them are connected with media, part of them … encourage the young people to protest in front of the parliament, to attack policemen … It’s very obvious”, Zaev said.

Zaev declined to name who was behind the payments, citing an ongoing investigation and the sensitivities of diplomatic relations surrounding the country’s bid for NATO membership. He said that police learned of the payments after detaining several participants in violent protests outside parliament in June.


Stoltenberg: Invitation to NATO membership once the Treaty with Greece is fulfilled

Brussels, 10 July, 2018 - 18:39 (META) 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expects that following the agreement with Greece, Macedonia will be asked to begin accession negotiations with NATO.

Stoltenberg stated at today’s pre-conference, Macedonia will become a NATO member using the new name Republic of Northern Macedonia.

“I expect that after the historic agreement reached last month in the name dispute, we will invite Skopje to commence membership negotiations. When the agreement is finalized and implemented, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be invited to become the 30th NATO member under its new name, the Republic of Northern Macedonia. This is a sign that NATO’s doors are and will remain open”, said Stoltenberg, MIA’s correspondent reported from Brussels.

Shekerinska: We are getting an invitation for NATO the day after tomorrow, lets not miss this chance

Skopje, 9 July, 2018 - 15:36 (META) 

It is quite certain that on 11th of July, Macedonia will receive an invitation for accession talks for the NATO Summit, which is expected to be relatively short – three to six months – a procedure which is identical to the last countries which became NATO members, i.e. Montenegro, Albania and Croatia, and then the Accession Protocol has to be signed, after which its ratification will begin with all member states, and then, we will be “de facto” with NATO, because then we will participate in a big part of the NATO procedures. It remains only to complete the procedure in the country, with the referendum and the constitutional changes, in order to remove the last obstacles. For a long period of time the opposition has been stressing that the EU and NATO are the strategic commitments for Macedonia, and now, it is not serious by the opposition to block this road because of the small political points, said Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska and the national NATO co-ordinator Stevo Pendarovski at today’s briefing with journalists.

Emphasizing that it is a minor accession process and that a large part of the issues have already been completed, both Pendarovski and Shekerinska said the accession process would be identical as it is for Montenegro, Albania and Croatia, and that the main thing should take place in the country, i.e. to hold a referendum and to change the Constitution.

“Macedonia is at a new beginning. What we missed in 2008, we can now realize it with 10 years delay, and we know it costs us a lot. But now it is a new time when the state is no longer abducted, the period of stagnation has stopped, we have a chance to send a new message for stability, and also we could have economic benefits. In the meantime, we have noticed that there is no objection from Greece”, the Minister of Defense said.

When asked whether it was possible for France and the Netherlands to obstruct the process, as it was with the case regarding the invitation to negotiate with the EU, Shekerinska and Pendarovski explained there is no danger at all, referring to the meetings with NATO ministers and ambassadors.

According to Pendarovski, during his reports in Brussels, he received assurances from the ambassadors of both countries that there is no objection.

Kremlin: Macedonia’s membership to NATO is their sovereign right

Moscow, 29 June, 2018 - 14:28 (META) 

Macedonia’s accession to NATO is a sovereign right of the country. Moscow fosters good relations with Skopje, but opposes the Alliance’s approach to Russia’s borders, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday.

“It is the sovereign decision for Macedonia itself. We appreciate and maintain good relations with Macedonia. Of course, we are interested in developing bilateral cooperation. But with regard to NATO’s approach and its infrastructure to our borders, Moscow’s position on this process is known-and nothing has changed in that regard”, replied Peskov to a journalist’s question about the Kremlin’s position on Macedonia’s accession to NATO.

USA: Reforms must continue regardless of EU accession process

Washington, 29 June, 2018 - 11:21 (META) 

The US State Department welcomed the EU Council’s decision to propose a plan for opening accession negotiations with Macedonia and Albania in June 2019 and once again confirms the importance of the agreement reached with Greece.

In a statement for MIA, the State Department said that the EU’s plan depends on further progress in certain areas.

“The Council’s decision highlights the strong efforts made by the two countries in implementing reforms to bring their laws into line with EU standards,” said the State Department.

It is further pointed out that, as a friend and partner of Macedonia, the United States will help the Macedonian government to succeed in the Euro-Atlantic integration of the country.

“This includes the rule of law, improved responsible governance, as well as judicial reform, intelligence services and public administration. These are important issues that need to be addressed regardless of the EU accession process, ” added the US State Department.