SKOPJE, SEPTEMBER 13, 1995 (MIC)
Athens expects the talks between the foreign ministers of Macedonia and Greece to start without any problems. At the same time, it is claimed that the Macedonian delegation did not insist on the prior lifting of the economic embargo, and that the international mediators rejected such a request on Monday.
It is also claimed in Athens that the new Macedonian flag will be presented for the first time when it is raised in front of the building of the World organization, on the occasion of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the UN.
The former Greek Prime Minister Constantinos Mitsotakis expressed opposition to the agreement yesterday, saying that "there's no doubt that the agreement which was prepared by the Greek Government back in May, 1993 will be signed." However, Mitsotakis warned that the name issue was not included in the agreement, and was fearful that his prediction would come true, that President Gligorov was being "handed the name Macedonia."
The department for cooperation with Eastern European countries in the European Parliament in Brussels discussed Macedonia yesterday, in light of the announcements of a speedy establishment of diplomatic relations between our country and the EU.
Yesterday, the European parliamentarians in Brussels were addressed by the Macedonian ambassador in Belgium Jovan Tegovski, who explained the current political and economic situation in the country. The purpose of the meeting, according to him, is to express our expectation for a speedy establishment of diplomatic relations between Macedonia and the EU, which would mean inclusion in the PHARE program for financial support of certain projects, and then other EU programs for the development of Eastern European countries, as well. The final goal, according to Tegovski, is signing an agreement on cooperation.
"This whole process will be stepped up, since the signing of the Greek-Macedonian agreement in New York is anticipated in the next 24 hours," Doris Park, president of the delegation of the European Parliament, in charge or relations with countries from South-Eastern Europe, told Radio Skopje. In separate interviews for Radio Skopje, she, as well as ambassador Tegovski stressed that the second purpose of the meeting was her visit to Macedonia, scheduled for the end of October, at the invitation of the Speaker of Parliament Stojan Andov.
Ms. Park positively assessed ambassador Tegovski's information and underlined the interest of the EU for a speedy establishment of diplomatic relations with Macedonia.
Towards the end of the meeting, a minor incident occurred. Ambassador Tegovski handed out a book on Macedonia to the parliamentarians, to which the Greek representative reacted very strongly, since the name Republic of Macedonia was written on it. Ms. Park strongly condemned this act of the Greek representative and apologized to ambassador Tegovski, explaining to the parliamentarians that he represented his country under its Constitutional name, to which he had absolute rights, and that the parliamentarians could use Macedonia's name in the UN if they wanted to.
The Bulgarian and Macedonian interior ministries will form joint commissions to exchange experiences in battling organized crime, drugs, car theft, and other forms of criminal activity, in order to provide more efficient control of the border region between the two countries. In conjunction, Macedonia and Bulgaria will call a regional Conference on the prevention and control of crime, which should determine the regional policy for this field.
The Bulgarian minister Ljubomir Nacev stated the most serious problem in Bulgaria was car thefts. At this moment, 34,000 stolen vehicles are being searched for in this country. Well-organized criminal networks are dealing with this "trade." Minister Frckovski informed that a quick exchange of information about car thefts in Macedonia has been arranged with the Bulgarian authorities, which helps to find them much faster and cuts the chain of further trade with these cars.
A couple of minutes before the start of the news conference, minister Frckovski handed his colleague Nacev six icons which were stolen from a monastery in the Chustendil area, and which were confiscated by the Macedonian police. Minister Nacev thanked Frckovski for his gesture in front of the press.
The delegation of the Bulgarian Antifascist Union (BAU) signed an Agreement on inter-state cooperation as well as cooperation with other antifascist and veteran organization from the Balkans, yesterday, in the Veteran's Federation of Macedonia (VFM). The agreement was signed by the president of BAU Velko Vulkanov and the president of the VFM Borko Temelkovski.
It was agreed for both organization to support their governments in advancing the inter-state cooperation, within their power. BAU and VFM will make special efforts to overcome the burdens from the past, whose consequences are the non- recognition and violation of the rights of national minorities and the advent of and territorial aspirations.
The chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Republic of Albania Seme Kosova stated in Skopje yesterday, following talks with the chief of the Macedonian Army Admiral Bocinov and Defence Minister Blagoy Handziski: "The talks with the host focused on the need to strengthen the cooperation, as well as the participation of Macedonian experts in the military exercise we will hold in Albania in conjunction with the U.S. army."
A Convention that will be in permanent session will start at 18.00 hours today, in the Universal hall in Skopje, under the organization of IMRO-DPMNU, the World Macedonian Congress, the Labour Party and the Cultural-Scientific Festivals of the Islamized Macedonians. It will be held as a sign of protest and response to the imminent signing of the Macedonian- Greek agreement in New York.
The ceremony of the signing of the agreement between Greece and Macedonia, which was set to take place in New York yesterday, will most probably be postponed, the representative of the United Nations Fred Ekhart stated yesterday evening. Although after meeting separately with the Greek and Macedonian foreign ministers, mediator Cyrus Vance stated all the items from the document had been defined, the signing will nevertheless most likely be postponed because of the Greek embargo.
As the German news agency DPA reports, a Greek diplomat stated that the Government in Skopje insists on Greece lifting the embargo first, however, Athens is consistent that the lifting of the blockade will come only after the signing of the document.
Yesterday evening, according to New York time, the first Greek-Macedonian direct meeting between the foreign ministers Karolos Papoulias and Stevo Crvenkovski was supposed to take place. The latest information we received from the Macedonian permanent mission at the UN in New York, up to the closing of the newspaper, was that minister Crvenkovski was still in talks with mediator Cyrus Vance and U.S. mediator Matthew Nimetz, and that the meeting with Papoulias had been postponed several times during the day.
The latest information of the German news agency, that the signing of the agreement is being postponed, could not be commented by anyone in the Macedonian mission in New York, nor the members of the negotiating delegation from Macedonia, hence it is still uncertain whether the agreement will be signed tonight, according to New York time, as planned.
Over the past two days, mediator Cyrus Vance spoke on two occasions with the foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia. Minister Karolos Papoulias colorfully described these talks as "softening out the sharp edges" of the document.
Beside minister Crvenkovski, the Macedonian delegation also includes the Under Secretary in the Macedonian foreign Ministry Ognen Maleski, ambassador Ivan Toshevski, who has been involved in the negotiations from the start of the negotiating process in the United Nations, and Ljubica Achevska, representative of the Republic of Macedonia to the U.S..
According to Greek sources, tonight's signing of the agreement between Greece and Macedonia will also be attended by the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrook, who was the last mediator in the overcoming of the dispute between Athens and Skopje. However, in reference to this news, the conservative daily newspaper "Katimerini" reported from Washington yesterday that UN mediator Cyrus Vance is quite reserved in regard to Richard Holbrook's role, saying that he even jeopardized the reaching of an agreement between Athens and Skopje with his aggressive attitude and "raised the political price" for both governments.
The noticeable presence of the U.S. in the bridging of the dispute is also accented with the, as yet, unconfirmed information that immediately after the signing of the agreement, Crvenkovski and Papoulias will leave for Washington, where they are expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Greek sources, on the other hand, are speculating that the White House will also try to capitalize from the successful resolution of this question, hence it is quite possible that the two ministers might be received by President Bill Clinton, as well.
Minister Crvenkovski's trip to Washington is also connected with the announced establishment of full diplomatic relations between Macedonia and the U.S.A., which is not a subject of the agreement, however, is connected in a packet with it, well-informed sources from New York claim. This is confirmed by the fact that the delegation that will be doing the signing of the agreement under the auspices of the UN also includes the Macedonian representative to Washington Ljubica Achevska, and not as it should be expected, the ambassador to the UN Denko Maleski.
If the document is signed, the UN Security Council is expected to immediately react to this news, in view of its resolution no. 817 from April, 1993, when Macedonia was accepted as a full member of the World organization, and both Macedonia and Greece took on the responsibility to negotiate in order to overcome their differences. The UN Security Council is expected to welcome the agreement, since this way, both sides fulfilled their international responsibility.
Yet, when it comes to the Security Council, once question still remains open, namely, how its fifteen members, especially the five permanent ones, among which the U.S.A. obviously plays the leading role in the resolution of the Greek- Macedonian dispute, will respond to the question of the name. According to one possibility, it is possible that by welcoming the agreement, the Council might simply close this file. However, it is also possible that beside expressing its satisfaction with the cooperativeness of the two sides in fulfilling their responsibilities, the Council might give then a new task to continue negotiating over the name.
Otherwise, according to Greek sources, the negotiations over the name should start within 30 days from the signing of the agreement. However, Macedonian sources claim there is no way the name can be the subject of the agreement set to be signed tonight.