Ivanov at the UN: I am Macedonian and I want everyone to respect us as Macedonians

“The indecisiveness of the European Union and NATO to unblock the integration of the Republic of Macedonia was one of the main reasons for the perpetual internal political crisis in Macedonia that culminated this year. However, the Republic of Macedonia is not an exception. The entire Balkan region is in stagnation. We see retrograde processes reappearing. Balkan states believed quite naively that someone from the outside would solve all their problems. EU obviously does not have such power”, said the President of Macedonia, Gjorgi Ivanov in his adress at 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

However, in such complex circumastances, said Ivanov, the Republic of Macedonia is doing its utmost to maintain the best possible relations with its neighbours.

“Us two neighboring countries have one open issue, but thousands of areas of common interest, but also serious challenges such as the migration crisis or security, which point to the necessity of close cooperation. The name issue must not be an obstacle to maximum cooperation in all areas of common interest. Alas, precious time has been lost”, said Ivanov.

He welcomed the confidence building measures between the two countries and called upon their expansion and introduction of new contents.

“The sooner we deliver on those measures, the sooner we will be able to create a positive ambiance for finding a solution to the name difference within the frame of the Interim Accord, United Nations Resolutions and the judgment of the International Court of Justice”, stressed the President.
He asked that everyone respect us as Macedonians, just as we respect everyone else’s right to identify as they feel.

“I am Macedonian, my fellow citizens are Macedonians and from this podium i addressing to you in Macedonian. As Macedonians, we wish to cooperate and have the best possible relations with all our neighbors. There is no problem that cannot be solved and no difference that cannot be overcome. The only precondition is to respect each other and reach solutions through dialogue”, stated Ivanov.

According to him, the first wave of migrants eroded European institutions, mechanisms and policies.

“By preventing illegal migration, the Republic of Macedonia succeeded in contributing to a large extent to the overall security in Europe. Europe is already facing a second, more massive wave. More than 20 million migrants and refugees from Asia and Africa are located very close to the external borders of Europe. In the coming years and decades, millions of migrants will try to set their foot on the European continent. The Republic of Macedonia prevents illegal migration coming from EU territory. The Union must find modalities and mechanisms to protect its borders, secure the corridors and integrate the migrants and refugees with admitted entry without assimilating them in the process”, concluded Ivanov.