Zaev and Sela agree on constitutional changes – the preamble will be changed

Skopje, 8 January, 2019 - 18:33 (META) 

After today’s meeting at the Holiday Inn hotel in Skopje between with Prime Minister and SDSM President Zoran Zaev, leader of the Alliance of the Albanians (AA), Zijadin Sela, stated that they have reached an agreement and that MPs from his party will vote for the changes to the Constitution.

He said that due to the Alliance’s insistence, the separation of citizens will be removed in the Preamble.

“The meeting was in the spirit of agreement and compromise. We discussed the requests that the Alliance of Albanians have made. I can gladly confirm today and I hope it will continue over the next few days and with the vote in Parliament, that starting from today, we shall not have two categories of citizens as it was until now. Therefore, there will no longer be “citizens, like others” but only citizens and will continue with the Macedonian nation, part of the Albanian nation, the Turkish nation etc. I say this with pleasure that as a party we have contributed to all citizens for better representation, so that more of them feel equal with all other citizens. The AA supports the idea that Macedonia should become a member of NATO and EU. On the other hand, there are things in which we generally agree, but we need to find ways to accomplish that. We, as the AA will not abandon our demand that the Albanian language be defined as the Albanian language and not as an “other language”. We still haven’t reached an agreement or a compromise on this issue,” said Sela

Prime Minister Zaev also expressed his satisfaction an agreement was reached and confirmed that some words from the preamble will be deleted, so it doesn’t give the impression that certain citizens are only here temporarily.

“I want to express my satisfaction on the constructive talks we had and the sensitivity that the Alliance of Albanians has shown towards the Macedonian nation. Among the draft amendments, the AA’s proposal has been accepted in order to remove the words such as” that live within the borders” so it does not look as if citizens of nationalities such as Albanians, Roma, Vlachs are only here temporarily. Today, we removed the other “citizens” because technically it is a repetition, as “citizens” is stated twice. This way, we are making everyone be equal in the eyes of the constitution. Now the preamble will state “the Macedonian nation and part of the Albanian nation, part of the Turkish nation, etc” said Zaev.

Zaev: I wish a consensual candidate for a president that would be acceptable to all citizens

Skopje, 4 January, 2019 - 17:28 (META) 

Until now we haven’t talked about the name of the consensual president as we are waiting for the process at the parliament related to the constitutional changes to end and then we shall open a debate, replied Prime Minister Zoran Zaev when he was asked by a journalist whether he has spoken with DUI about potential names that are named among the general public as a candidate for a president: Bujar Osmani, Nikola Dimitrov, Radmila Shekjerinska.

“I want a consensual candidate for a president to whom we would all give our support. DUI is not the only coalition partner as there are more. I believe we shall find the strength to choose a candidate who will prove to be an acceptable solution for the majority of citizens” replied Zaev.

He confirmed that he shall have a meeting at 16h with BESA’s Bilal Kasami with whom he shall talk about providing support about the constitutional changes.

“Both Albanian opposition parties’ suggestions were positive. Their suggestions were integrated into the amendments and I want to hear them what worries them” said Zaev briefly.

Zaev: We will know if there is a majority for constitutional changes on the day of the vote

Skopje, 4 January, 2019 - 15:16 (META) 

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev is optimistic that the required majority will be secured in Parliament for the vote on constitutional changes, but says the number of MPs will be known on the day of the vote.

“We will know the final number on the day of the vote. The session is scheduled for January 9, and according to the statements from the opposition regarding their presence, I expect the hearing to last for two to three days. The act of voting will show the outcome of the debate, the adoption of amendments, remarks, etc. Talks with political parties will continue, tomorrow I have a meeting with Bela Kasami from the Besa Movement and I am glad that Albanian parties from the opposition bloc like Besa and the Alliance of Albanians support NATO and EU accession unambiguously,” Zaev said in response to a journalist’s question.

In regard to the ratification of the Prespa Agreement on the Greek side, Zaev said he trusts the word of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that he will secure a parliamentary majority for ratification of both the Agreement and the protocol for joining NATO.

“New Democracy is not against Macedonia’s NATO membership. 300 MPs in the Greek parliament need to vote for ratification of the protocol,” added Zaev

Regarding the letter by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Zaev sees it as encouraging the two countries for the significance of the value of the agreement. The only issue he disagrees with Stoltenberg is that the process should be completed in the middle or late February.

“Why would we wait for the middle or the end of February? NATO can submit a ratification protocol to the Greek parliament in late January or early February,” Zaev said.

As for early parliamentary elections, he says he personally opposes the idea, however it is not only up to him, but also the party and other stakeholders.

Zaev – Tusk: If Macedonia continues at this pace, it can make up for lost time for EU integration

Brussels, 19 December, 2018 - 19:08 (META) 

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, accompanied by Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, started their working visit to Brussels with a meeting with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk.

At the meeting, it was concluded that the country’s determination to resolve the major political issues with neighbours and bringing reforms in the key areas of the judiciary, security services, public administration, the media, the fight against corruption, has put Macedonia on the right track towards European integration.

“The message is that if Macedonia continues at this pace, if the Prespa Agreement is implemented and if key reform priorities are implemented, it can make up for some of the lost time in the integration process and hope for the start of the negotiations to be in June 2019,” reports the government.

At the meeting with Tusk, Zaev informed that the state is working hard to fully implement the Prespa Agreement and expects equal efforts from Greece.

“We expect, with two-thirds support in Parliament, by the end of January 2019, to adopt constitutional amendments that will complete the process in our country and will enable Greece to begin their process of ratification of the Prespa Agreement and the adoption of the accession protocol to NATO. The process of joining NATO is our main focus in 2019. We are also working hard on key reform priorities, which emerged as a message from the European Council in June 2018 as a condition for an effective start of EU membership negotiations in June 2019. We know that implementation is important in the process and we will do everything to ensure it, especially in the area of the rule of law,” Zaev said.

Zaev is on a working visit to Brussels and is scheduled to a hold aworking lunch with the leaders of the Western Balkan countries and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

Zaev and Tsipras officially nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Skopje, 18 December, 2018 - 16:08 (META) 

Prime Ministers Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras have been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts on the Prespa Agreement, resolving the name dispute which has lasted for two-decades.

In Skopje today, Zaev and Tsipras’s nomination was announced by Uided Bushamaui , the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize winner at a ceremony held at FON University.

Bushamaui says the Prespa Agreement proves that two countries can sit down together, negotiate and reach an agreement.

“The nomination is not just personal for Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras, but it is for all citizens. This is a model for dialogue and prosperity. I strongly believe that Macedonia or should I say Northern Macedonia and Greece will receive the Nobel Peace Prize and will prove to the world that everything can be achieved with an agreement. Once ratified, the treaty will send a strong message that dialogue is possible,” said Bushamaui.

MEP Stelios Kouloglou from the Greek Syriza party attended the ceremony, and also supports the two prime ministers nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Koulogou said that if there had been a Nobel Prize for war, the Balkans would have been awarded several times, and that the Prespa Agreement is the only good and positive thing that is currently coming out of Europe, which is currently divided and faces numerous problems.

“The Prespa Agreement is an agreement that solves a long-standing problem, not only regarding the name, but it also provides a definite solution to the Macedonian question. Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras needed courage and had to put national interests above party interests in order to reach this agreement. We owe this agreement to previous generations, as well as our children and future generations who must live in peace and prosperity,” said Koulogou.

He pointed out that the agreement had many opponents on both sides, but it is illogical that their opponents accuse the two prime ministers of selling out national interests.

After the ceremony in Skopje, Bushamaiu and Kouloglou are heading to Athens on December 19th, where they will meet with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to officially announce the nomination.

Zaev on Kosovo’s military: We don’t need new tension

Skopje, 14 December, 2018 - 16:42 (META) 

Today, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev after three laws were passed in the Kosovo parliament that envisages the transformation of the Kosovo Security Forces into Kosovo’s Army, said that at this moment the region does not need any new tension.

-I know that NATO’s position is the same as ours: Now is not the time! We do not need any new tensions. Once again, let’s not forget that the Balkans does not intend to be another “bure barut (gunpowder barrel)”, “Zaev said.

He appealed to his colleagues – prime ministers, but also to the presidents of the Western Balkan countries – to watch their steps.

“We will promote economic cooperation, to achieve lasting peace, growth, development and EU membership,” Zaev said after the national decentralization conference.

Otherwise, the government of Kosovo congratulated its citizens on the formation of the military in Kosovo, and at the same time pointed out to NATO that from that day, the organization acquired a faithful and dedicated ally.

Zaev has not lost hope that Gruevski will be extradited

Stip, 10 December, 2018 - 15:37 (META) 

“I do not know what world certain people still live in, so I will ask President Ivanov. Where in the world does the executive power make arrests, or the government executive investigates, or the government executive prosecutes… ?! It is a matter for the prosecution and the judiciary,” said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev when asked to comment on a statement made by President Ivanov that “nothing is strange and he should be arrested”, given how the government has been acting lately.

After the public debate on the constitutional changes in Stip, Zaev commented on the neighbouring country’s statements related to language, the atmosphere in Greece, as well as Ivanov’s comments.

After EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn expressed skepticism that Nikola Gruevski would be delivered to Macedonia, the prime minister said he had not lost hope.

“I am continuing to make efforts as President of the Government together with the institutions, to seek his extradition, because that is the least we can expect from a friendly country, such as Hungary, an EU member state,” said Zaev.

During the debate, Prime Minister Zaev was asked by the citizens present to comment on statements made by two ministers in the Bulgarian government, Krasimir Karakachanov and Ekaterina Zaharieva.

Zaev believes that building trust with neighbouring Bulgaria should continue.

Professor Gjorgji Spasov says this is a reaction of Karakachanov, who is afraid that with Macedonia’s entry into the EU, he will remain without the money from the sale of Bulgarian passports.

There is no “Pact against Serbia” even though Serbian tabloid “Alo” insists there is

Skopje, 5 December, 2018 - 23:44 (META) 

Serbian tabloid “Alo”, announcing the start of the Central European Initiative Summit in Zagreb, said that there will also be some discussions concerning the establishment of a pact which became the main topic in the Balkan media, following statements by Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj for the Croatian newspaper “Vecernji List”. This comes only one day after Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, queried by MP Ivan Stojiljkovic, categorically denied that there were any talks in which he was involved, for a pact between Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia and Kosovo against Serbia.

In the article by “Alo” under the headline “They are preparing to do us evil, Edi Rama goes to Zagreb to sign a document that threatens to destroy Serbia”, the tabloid refers to the Croatian daily newspaper “Jutarnji List”. It says that according to the speculations, one of the topics in a meeting between the prime ministers of Croatia and Macedonia on the margins of the summit would be a pact against Serbia.

The topic was raised by Enver Hoxhaj via Croatian newspaper “Vecernji List”. However, on Thursday on Montenegrin TV “Antenna 5” he denied that he mentioned the formation of a pact against Serbia at all.

“I have never said anything about creating a regional pact against Serbia,” Hoxhaj said.

He said he stood behind everything else he said in “Vecernji list”, such as Serbia’s interference in undermining the statehood of Kosovo and in internal issues of Montenegro and Macedonia.

Answering questions from journalists, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said in a press conference on Sunday that he categorically denies any involvement in talks in Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo and Montenegro for a pact against Serbia, as was claimed by Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj. Zaev stressed that there were no such talks.

“I categorically dismiss any involvement in such  talks, because they never happened. None of us asked for something like this, nor did we discuss such a matter. I only urge both Kosovo and Serbia to build friendship through dialogue,” Zaev said.

However, despite the denials on Sunday, which Montenegrin foreign ministry joined in on, Serbian tabloid “Alo” yesterday in a short article reiterated the agreement, and the signing of a pact, even though the main figures said that they had never discussed such a thing.

The article in “Jutarnji List”, which “Alo” refers to, is not from that newspaper, but was published by the Croatian news agency “Hina”, as is duly stated in “Jutarnji”.

Zaev: I spoke to Spasovski about resigning on moral grounds, but I don’t see any shortcomings

Skopje, 5 December, 2018 - 20:42 (META) 

I am convinced that if Gruevski decides to “hit back” or to use one of his phrases “to stab Macedonia in the back”, he could damage Macedonia, but he can’t put the security of the country at risk, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in an interview with Deutsche Welle.

“I do not think there are any implications regarding security. Macedonia does not depend on any individual, nor does any individual hold that kind of information to cause some security risks to the country. Of course, Macedonia may be damaged in some way, because we are talking about a man who was prime minister for ten years. Everything that is confidential, state secrets, official secrets, remained mostly with him,” says Zaev.

Regarding the investigation into the ex-prime ministers escape, Zaev says he has some knowledge of parts of the investigation, but he will wait for the institutions to be complete their work before giving further comments.

When asked why no-one resigned on moral grounds, Zaev says Oliver Spasovski had discussed it with him.

“As a colleague in Government and my longtime associate, we always talked about moral grounds in such circumstances. Because, if there is moral responsibility, there should be arguments for it, an explanation, to locate the moral hazard, the problem, shortcomings… I do not see such shortcomings. However, if it turns out that there was a responsibility – I will require that it be specifically dealt with,” says Zaev.

The prime minister says the constitutional changes process and the two-thirds majority will not be held hostage by issues within the jurisdiction of the judiciary.

“If we go round the process of constitutional changes, and destroy the rule of law, it will be in vain. Then we will receive a negative assessment from EU member states, who are cautiously following our processes,” emphasizes Zaev.

„Pakta protiv Srbije“ nema, ali za srpski „Alo“ ima pa ima!

Skopje, 4 December, 2018 - 23:55 (META) 

Srpski tabloid „Alo“, najavljujući početak samita Centralnoevropske inicijative u Zagrebu, pisao je da se na samitu u Zagrebu razgovaralo i o formiranju pakta, koji je postao glavna tema u balkanskim medijima, nakon izjava kosovskog vicepremijera Envera Hodžaja za hrvatske novine „Večernji list“. Ovo je samo jedan dan nakon što je makedonski premijer Zoran Zaev, pozvan od poslanika Ivana Stojiljkovića, kategorično demantovao da je došlo do bilo kakvih razgovora u kojima je on bio uključen o paktu Makedonije, Crne Gore, Hrvatske i Kosova za Srbiju.

U tekstu tabloida „Alo“, pod naslovom „SPREMAJU NAM ZLO Edi Rama pristiže u Zagreb i potpisuje DOKUMENT koji preti da uništi Srbiju“, tabloid, pozivajući se na hrvatske novine „Jutarnji list“, navodi da prema špekulacijama, na marginama samita jedna od tema susreta premijera Hrvatske i Makedonije, Andreja Plenkovića i Zorana Zaeva, biće stvaranje pakta protiv Srbije.

Temu je pokrenuo Enver Hodžaj preko hrvatskih novina „Večernji list“. Ali on je prekjuče za crnogorsku televiziju „Antena M“ demantovao da je uopšte pomenuo formiranje pakta protiv Srbije.

– Nikad ništa nisam rekao o stvaranju regionalnog pakta protiv Srbije – izjavio je Hodžaj za televiziju.

On je ipak naveo da stoji iza svega drugog što je rekao za „Večernji list“, kao što je mešanje Srbije u potkopavanje državnosti Kosova i u unutrašnja pitanja Crne Gore i Makedonije.

Makedonski premijer Zoran Zaev, upitan na pres-konferenciji u nedelju za stav po pitanju koje je otvorio kosovski vicepremijer Enver Hodžaj, da se u Makedoniji, Hrvatskoj, Kosovu i Crnoj Gori razgovaralo o paktu protiv Srbije, odgovorio je da se on ograđuje od bilo kakvih razgovora, zato što nisu postojali.

– Želim da se ogradim od bilo kakvih razgovora, nisu postojali. Niko od nas nije zatražio takvo nešto niti se razgovaralo o tom pitanju. Ja samo apeliram i do Kosova i do Srbije da grade prijateljstvo kroz dijalog – izjavio je Zaev.

Ali i pored tih demanata u nedelju, kojima se priključilo i crnogorsko Ministarstvo spoljašnjih poslova, Srpski tabloid „Alo“ je juče u svom kratkom tekstu ponovo naveo dogovaranje, pa i potpisivanje nekakvog pakta, i pored toga što glavne ličnosti reaguju da se nije govorilo o nečemu sličnom.

Tekst „Jutarnjeg lista“ na koji se poziva „Alo“, inače, nije iz tih novina, već je preobjavljen tekst hrvatske novinske agencije „Hine“, kao što je i propisno nаvеdeno u „Jutarnjem“.