VMRO-DPMNE and Albanian parties will not comment on “Ilindenska Macedonia”

Skopje, 18 May, 2018 - 19:38 (META) 

VMRO-DPMNE has no information regarding the process that is being conducted by the Government and it would be frivolous to present it now, said the director of the VMRO-DPMNE Center for Communications, Ivo Kotevski, in a statement for Portalb.

Yesterday evening and today, many media groups, citing diplomatic sources, wrote that the solution discussed by Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, as mutually acceptable is the Republic of Ilindenska Macedonia.

“It is frivolous to comment on such a serious issue. We have already said that VMRO-DPMNE has no information concerning the process that is being conducted by the Government. We do not know in what kind of scope it is being agreed upon, nor whether they have agreed on a name that is acceptable to both sides, and there is no information, nor can we predict how to solve other identity headings”, said Kotevski.

Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Osmani, as a spokeswoman for DUI did not want to comment on the matter.

“I do not comment on speculation”, Osmani said briefly.

From the Besa Movement, Afrim Gashi’s wing, they say they expect an official response, which will then be reviewed and a party position will be formed.

The Alliance for Albanians also said they cannot comment until formal notification is given.

From Bilal Kasami’s wing of the Besa Movement, they said that they do not have concrete communication with the negotiating parties, but that in principle, they support a quick solution that will include elements of the multi-ethnic and multi-religious reality that exists in the country.

VMRO-DPMNE calls again on Zaev to reveal what he is negotiating on the name

Skopje, 15 May, 2018 - 20:08 (META) 

Today, the opposition VMRO-DPMNE called again on Prime Minister Zoran Zaev to make a statement to the public concerning the name talks and again asked for a leadership meeting.

“This is the third day of silence from the government and Prime Minister Zaev on the call for an immediate leadership meeting to discuss the details and the direction of the most important issue to the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, the name issue. The only information available to the Macedonian public is from the Greek media. In addition, this was preceded by a process of restraint in the statements by the prime minister and government officials on the issue of organizing a referendum and the Constitution, which only increases the dilemma that things are moving in an undesirable direction for the Republic of Macedonia”, said the party’s general secretary, Igor Janushev .

He demanded that Prime Minister Zaev publicly come out and say what is being negotiated on the name.

“Does the solution you are negotiating or have already agreed upon mean capitulation for the Republic of Macedonia? There is no reason why we should not have an immediate leadership meeting. The authorities are embroiled in their own lies and false hopes made for the people. They said that President Ivanov is not here, but the president of the state is here. They said that the problem was scheduling the meeting, and so far the leaders have not been contacted at all for a possible time. The government’s obligation is to seek consensus on such historical issues. An immediate leadership meeting will help, it cannot do any harm”, said Janushev.

Dimitrov from Thessaloniki: We share the same fate as the EU, but we’re still not at the table

Thessaloniki, 4 May, 2018 - 17:54 (META) 

We share the same fate with the EU, but we are still not at the table, said Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov at the third quadrilateral ministerial meeting between Macedonia, Greece, Albania and Bulgaria, which takes place today in Thessaloniki, reports MIA.

Dimitrov thanked Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov for being the country’s chairman of the Union, succeeding in bringing the region back to the EU’s political agenda and making 2018 a year of opportunity.

“At the meeting we have two candidate countries and two member states. I believe that we can not become a truly happy place if the region does not move in the same direction”, said Dimitrov, adding that the current developments are a positive moment for the entire region.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said at the opening of the meeting that global challenges have boosted intergration in the SEE region.

“Changes that take place in the world lead to the conclusion that we must intensify and deepen the cooperation between the SEE countries,” Kotzias said.

He noted that further deepening and cooperation is especially necessary due to two goals, “FYROM” and Albania to become part of the EU and to provide preparation for their cooperation within the Union.

The topics at the meeting are cross-border cooperation, the European perspective of the Western Balkans, the impact of developments in the Middle East on the region, the opportunities for developing the road infrastructure. Cooperation will also be discussed between the police, the fight against cross-border and organized crime and dealing with migration.

Foriegn Ministers of Macedonia and Greece, Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kotzias will have a new bilateral meeting within the ministerial meeting today, reports MIA .

Dimitrov and Kotzias should again meet again next week at an international conference which will be held in Sunni, near Athens.

Poll: Majority of citizens are against any change to the name

Skopje, 3 May, 2018 - 13:17 (META) 

No change in the name is the attitude of almost half of the citizens or 47.1 percent, according to the latest poll by the MCIC and the Institute for Democracy, published by Telma. Only 14.4 percent of citizens would accept a “double formula”, nearly as much as 14.1 would accept a name for overall use or ‘erga omnes’. An agreed name for international organizations is acceptable to 13.6 percent of the respondents, while 10.1 percent would support an agreed name for overall international use.

The poll by the MCIC and the Institute for Democracy covered the issue of changing the Constitution, showing that this is unacceptable for 48.3 percent of citizens, compared to only 16.4 percent of which a change of the constitutional name is acceptable. Regarding ethnicity, 60.7 percent of Macedonians do not accept any change in the Constitution, while 41.8 percent of Albanians accept the constitutional name change.

The public opinion poll showed which adjective or addition of the name would be the most acceptable for citizens to reach a solution. 17.1 percent for “Gorna”, for “Skopje”, 11.9 percent, for “Nova” – 9.5, for “North” 8.1 percent and for Vardarska 5.9 percent. The majority of respondents 44, percent are not for any addition.

Regarding the issue of citizenship or nationality according to the definitions in the United Nations, out of the offered four options, the largest number of 47.9 percent stated that citizenship should be written as македонско/ Macedonian. An eventual option – a citizen of the Republic of Upper Macedonia translated into English is acceptable for 14.4 percent.The most acceptable definition of language in the United Nations for 45.7 percent is “Macedonian” – with a translation into English, while 16.5 percent find “Macedonian” written in Latin acceptable.

Zaev: I expect a solution to the name by the end of June, the constitution will be re-opened before EU entry

Skopje, 3 May, 2018 - 13:00 (META) 

With these pro-democracy, pro-Western and pro-European manners that we are dealing with on both sides of the talks, we believe that we will be able to find the solution that will benefit the two sides to the very end. I believe that Macedonia together with Greece can reach a solution before the Council of Ministers or the Council of Europe is held. And immediately after that is the European Council at the end of June. I would like to reach a solution even before the European Union Summit on the Western Balkans. It’s on May 17, 18, but it’s more important to reach a solution.

This Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s respone yesterday after signing a memorandum of understanding between the Government and the Geneva Center for Democratic Control of the Armed Forces. He emphasized that the preservation of dignity and identity is very important to the government.

“We have already taken serious steps, I assure you that we are moving to what matters to us, and that is to preserve the dignity and identity of both our side and the Greek side, we will try to reach a solution that will provide Macedonia an automatic NATO invitation and a date for negotiations with the European Union”, said Zaev.

Regarding the changes to the Constitution that Greece is seeking as an uncompromise, Zaev says the changes will follow before joining the EU, that is, when sovereignty is handed over to Brussels.

“Citizens should know that the the re-opening of the Constitution will be before direct entry as a fully-fledged EU membership. Why? Because then we pass on our sovereignty. So, for things we can discuss, the citizens should know, but as for other parts related to the Constitution, changes or similar, I cannot comment. Why? To give the negotiations a chance to the end. I believe that, however safe and ineligible for the negotiation process, we should be careful to reach a solution that will be of the common interest of the citizens of both countries”, said the prime minister.

Dimitrov and Kotzias to meet in Thessaloniki tomorrow

Skopje, 2 May, 2018 - 10:52 (META) 

Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and his Greek counterpart, Nikos Kotzias, will meet tomorrow in Thessaloniki, where both will participate in a quadrilateral forum, which will be also attended by their counterparts from Bulgaria and Albania.

After the last meeting between Dimitrov and Kotzias in Vienna, mediator Matthew Nimitz, said the two sides remain committed to solving the problem without presenting details of the talks.

The Greek media reported that the “difficult questions”, ie the scope of the use of the name, would be agreed upon, and Athens’ request to change the Macedonian constitution.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev yesterday said that every meeting holds new creativity which brings closer the differences that exist between Macedonia and Greece.

“Sometimes it takes big steps, sometimes it takes micro-steps to remove the differences that exist. I hope that with each meeting will be help in that direction”, said Zaev.

Šekerinska from Vermont: Macedonia deserves NATO membership

Washington, 2 May, 2018 - 10:46 (META) 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Radmila Šekerinska, during her official visit to the United States stated that Macedonia deserves NATO membership.

She told a news conference in the US state of Vermont that Macedonia has shown that it is a dedicated partner to which Alliance members can count on.

“My goal is to seek the support of the strategic partner of Macedonia, the United States, ahead of the NATO Summit. Macedonia deserved its place in NATO, we have worked hard. We have shown that Macedonia is a committed partner to which Alliance members can count on. We believe that the invitation to Macedonia for NATO membership will contribute to our stability, but also to the stability of the region, and it will be in the US interest, said Šekerinska.

She met in Vermont with Governor Phil Scott and National Guard Commander Major General Steven Cray.

The Defense Secretary is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis today in Washington.

Donald Tusk in Macedonian said that the EU stands behind Macedonia

Skopje, 27 April, 2018 - 15:48 (META) 

President of the European Council Donald Tusk, after a meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, told a news conference in Government in the Macedonian language that the EU stands behind Macedonia, just as Macedonia supported the European Union in the Salisbury incident .

He said that many things have changed in the country since 2015, when he was here on the occasion of the migrant crisis.

“Since then, the so-called western Balkan route is closed and it must remain that way. Let me thank you for your support then and for your continued follow-up on this issue. The EU will help you in your efforts to implement the reforms. You have all the necessary ingredients to succeed. You have reached an agreement with Bulgaria, and I hope that you will achieve the same with Greece. You have my unconditional support. I believe in you”, said Tusk.

Tusk, who is from Poland, said he feels a change in the political mentality in Skopje and a genuine political will to move towards Euro-Atlantic integrations.

“At the same time, I note the bold leadership of Prime Minister Zaev aimed at the future. The EU is and will remain the most trusted partner for the entire region, the EU is the largest investor, the largest donor and the largest trading partner for the entire region. This also applies to your country. About 80 percent of your exports go to the EU, and 13 percent in the Western Balkans. Only 1.5 percent in Turkey, 1 percent with Russia and 1 percent with China. Apart from trade and investment, I am convinced that the EU is the biggest hope for a better future for your citizens. I am saying this from my own experience as a Pole, today within the EU we can nourish our national identity while we are part of a larger community in which we can all prosper”, said Tusk.

156 representatives of the media, 116 from Macedonia and 40 from abroad are accredited at the meeting of the leaders of the participating countries from the Brdo-Brijuni Process, which will be held at the Alexander Palace Hotel in Skopje.

Stoltenberg: Russia does not decide on Macedonia’s NATO membership

Brussels, 26 April, 2018 - 16:50 (META) 

Today, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that only Macedonia and the 29 Alliance members can decide on the country’s membership in the Alliance, reported MIA.

At a press conference the day before the meeting between NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, Secretary-General Stoltenberg asked to comment on the statements of the Russian ambassador to Macedonia that the country would become a “legitimate target” in the event of a conflict, if it became a NATO member, and said it was a show of force.

“The whole idea that Russia will not accept certain countries to become NATO members is an idea of the spheres of influence where the great powers are controlling the smaller states and that is in contradiction of everything NATO stands for. First, I think that it is important that every nation has the right to decide its own path and security arrangements; this is a fundamental principle for NATO. It is up to Skopje to decide its own path and whether it wants to join NATO. Macedonia and the 29 NATO allies decide on this, and nobody else has a say in this process”, replied Stoltenberg.

According to the MIA correspondent, Stoltenberg said that he welcomes the progress in negotiations over the name dispute and is being informed about it.

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…