IVANOV: CAN'T IGNORE 126 COUNTRIES
Macedonia wants name solution to be found but does not want to hold talks on national identity and language. It is unacceptable for us to negate 126 countries that have already recognised the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said late Monday in his address in Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin, media reports.
Macedonia is the only country in the world that was conditioned for membership in the UN, in the NATO and now probably in the EU, Ivanov said, answering questions to the present guests on name dispute and Macedonian integration in NATO and EU.
- With the UN Resolution 817 in 1993 it is requested to hold talks with the neighbour on differences regarding our constitutional name and we are doing this for 16 years. We should not discuss about basic right to self-identification and self-determination. Yet we have accepted to discuss, although we changed the Constitutional and flag there was no results again, Ivanov said. He underlined the interim agreement in 1995 in which Greece obliged not to block Macedonia’s membership in international organisations which was not obeyed in Bucharest last year when it vetoed invitation for NATO admission.
In Bucharest we have accepted Nimetz’s proposal “The Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)” or to join NATO under provisional name “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” but this was not enough for Greece, Ivanov said.
Macedonia actively participates in UN-led negotiations and mediator Nimetz during his last visit to Skopje on July said that Macedonian side wants a compromise. We are really prepared for reaching a solution, which will be a compromise. However, Ivanov said that compromise is like tango, it takes two to tango. Now the resolving of problem is again postponed due to parliamentary elections in Greece next month and presidential elections in the spring next year.
Greek ambassador to Berlin Tasos Kriekoukis reacted on Ivanov’s address who said that Athens agrees the name of the northern neighbour to include the word Macedonia but with entry which would differentiate from the same Greek province and for international usage. He pointed out that larger part of region Macedonia belongs to Greece and made remarks on naming facilities after Alexander and Filip of Macedon, on erecting their monuments.
Ivanov answered that the Republic of Macedonia does not ban anyone to be named Macedonia or Macedonian. He denied that Macedonia steals culture and history pointing out that as UNESCO member is obliged to protect cultural and historical heritage on its territory. He asked why Greece does not react the same for Bulgaria who erected a monument of Philip II in Plovdiv?
I have proposal, president added, to accept the name “Macedonia 39%” because such part of region belongs to the Republic of Macedonia and 51% to Greece. But these 39% percent are 100% Macedonia and Greek 51% are only 5% from Greece, so hereon the question is posed who has right to be named Macedonia. Greek ambassador did not understand Ivanov's sarcasm.
He assessed the provisional reference FYR Macedonia as absurd. He emphasised that Macedonia wants to be recognised as European and not as former Yugoslav. How would you feel Germany i.e. its eastern part to be named “former Soviet colony” or Americans to be named as “former British colony.” We do not live in the past but in the present, we are no former but real and want to be treated for what we are, with dignity and right to self-determination, Ivanov said.
In regard to integration in NATO and EU, Ivanov said that they are strategic goals to which Macedonia is fully dedicated. He considered that integration in Euro-Atlantic structures should be assessed according to merits and achievements and the next logic and natural step for Macedonia is visa liberalisation and the start of EU talks.
We want sincerely to become part of NATO and EU. We are prepared to make difficult decisions if necessary, but not at price to our dignity, President Gjorge Ivanov said.