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MAK-NEWS 25/09/95 (M.I.L.S.)

From: "M.I.L.S." <mils@ITL.MK>

Macedonian Information Liaison Service Directory















  • [13] INTERVIEW WITH MATTHEW NIMITZ (Puls, 22 September) (Part II)


    Skopje, 25 September 1995


    The new flag proposal entered in official parliament procedure last Friday. It was signed by 86 parliamentarians from different parties and represents golden-yellow sun with eight sun rays on a red base. At the same time the parliamentarians suggested the proposal and the suggested text of the very law to be discussed and adopted at the same session. Parliamentarian President Stojan Andov, scheduled 27th parliamentarian session for October, 5.


    According to ANA, Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias yesterday called on the European Court to carry the case of the European Commission's injunction against Greece for imposing trade sanctions on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) through to the end, and not leave Greece with the stigma of the violator of European Union rules. In reply to a question before departing for New York yesterday, whether the European Court should proceed to issue a judgment on the case, following the recently signed interim accord between Greece and FYROM, Papoulias said the European Commission was "obliged to end what it had began, whether by vindicating or condemning Greece".

    Meantime, Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou said in an interview published today that recently-signed interim agreement between Greece and FYROM was a good beginning, with the name dispute being the sole outstanding issue. Papandreou, in an interview with the afternoon daily Ta Nea, described the accord as " a significant development ", and said "the interim agreement is a good beginning". "There remains the important difference over the name, but I believe that a solution can be found, " he added. He said his government was entering the negotiation process on the name "with our positions as we have stipulated them". Papandreou said that by "normalizing our relations with the North, we are strengthening Greece's overall movement in the Balkan hinterland, a potential region for cooperation and development of particulate importance for Greece". "This is better understood by the producer classes in Northern Greece", he added.


    Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, at the special press conference in Sofia, declared the position of Republic of Bulgaria vis-a-vis the Republic of Macedonia, Nova Makedonija informs. Bulgaria shares the intent for maximum, fast and wide development of bilateral relations, and concrete proof of such readiness by the Bulgarian side is to sign 23 agreements with Macedonia. Also, Bulgaria unconditionally supports the forthcoming admittance of Macedonia in the Council of Europe and other international organizations. Bulgaria express its unconditionally acceptance that all the neighbors of Macedonia will finally stabilize the relations through establishing of full diplomatic and other kind of relations.


    -Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov received special envoy of the UN Secretary General for Macedonia, Henry Sokalski. President Gligorov was informed for the results of the UNPREDEP peace mission in Macedonia. They exchanged thoughts about the participation of Macedonia in the forthcoming session of the General Assembly of UN where the delegation from Macedonia will be led by President Gligorov.

    -Macedonian Parliamentarian President Stojan Andov received in a protocol visit Deputy Foreign Minister of Republic of Poland, Stefan Meler. They talked about the processes of democratization and exchange of experiences between these two countries. Stojan Andov was officially invited to visit Poland.

    -In Tallinn, Estonia, at a formal ceremony, the Macedonian Ambassador , Tihomir Ilievski, gave the his ambassador's credentials to the President of Estonia, Lenard Mery. Ilievski was also received by the Foreign Minister of this Baltic country Rivo Sinijarv and they talked of the current situations and developing perspectives of both countries, particularly in the aspect of priorities in their political and economic relations on international level, as well as their including in the European political and financial institutions and associations.

    -Macedonian Ambassador in the Vatican, Dimitar Mircev met with the representatives of the Holy See. He had talks with the Deputy State Secretary Zan Luy Torano and they exchanged thoughts for promotion of the bilateral relations between Macedonia and the Vatican. The Ambassador Mircev met with the Cardinal Akile Silvestrini and talked on the topic of promotion of the relations of Vatican with the church communities in Macedonia.


    The Republic of Poland and The Republic of Macedonia agreed that during the summit of the countries of Central European Initiative(CEI), to be held in October, 6-7, to sign an agreement for the protection of the investments and avoiding of the mutual taxing. These two agreements will precede several others to come in the field of science, education, economy and traffic.


    These days in a working visit to Macedonian Chamber of Commerce, a delegation of the entrepreneurs of Republic of Greece stayed. In the talk with the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Macedonia, they mutually evaluated that the signing of the Greek-Macedonian interim accord is a condition for deepening the mutual business cooperation in all fields. It was stressed that the economy of both countries do not have to work through mediators but directly with each other.


    A Macedonian delegation consisting of representatives from the Government, Chamber of Commerce and Trade Union took active part in the 5th Regional European Conference of the International Labor Organization held in Warszaw. At the conference were discussed the problems of the social security of the unemployed. The leader of the Macedonian delegation was the Minister for Labor and Social Policy, Ilijaz Sabriu. He had a meeting with the Poliand Ministry for Labor and Social Policy and in a statement for Makpress he announced soon the signing of bilateral convention on social security between Macedonia and Poland.


    The Macedonian Trade Union launched an initiative for forming an Economic Social Council as a new body in the Macedonian Parliament. In developed countries it is almost universal form for social dialogue. Suggestion of the Union is that this body should consist of the representatives of the Union, Chamber of Commerce and Government, with the possibility to include representatives from significant professional and science institutions and individuals. It would first of all have consultative character, but will also give directions regarding the laws concerning economy, social security, labor legislature and in general all issues regarding the workers.


    The Macedonian Parliament Council of Ethnic Relations last Friday in Skopje, held a session at which the representative of the Serbian nationality in Macedonia, Bosko Despotovic resigned from the function in the Council. As a reason for this is cited that three years after the proposition of the amendment to the Constitution for including the Serbs in the preamble, nothing has been done. President of the Council Stojan Andov suggested that the representative resignation should be in adjournment until the Government is consulted.

    Meantime, the Council representative of Romas, Faik Abdi, informed that the activities for start of the teaching on Roma language are finalizing. This was also said by the representative of the Vlach but he stressed that there is unappropriate cooperation with the Education Ministry which does not issue proper certificates to the teachers and the funds for printing text books are not provided. Unless all this is provided to October 1, the teaching on Vlach language will begin illegaly.


    Last Friday in the village of Ognjanci a protest was held, gathering the local population of Macedonian and Serbian nationality. The message from the meting is that the Ministry for Education and Culture should withdraw its decision for including classes of Albanian language in the village school where classes were so far taught in Macedonian. "This peaceful protest is not directed against our neighbors the Albanians, not against that their children to learn their mother tongue, but it is a protest against the decision of the Ministry of Education", said Sreten Paunovic, President of the Committiee for Protection of Macedonian Language and Culture in Ogjnanci. He stressed that unless this decision is withdrawn, the boycott will continue, and new protest meetings will also be organized. The rest of the demands were: to build a building in the village area in which teaching of the Albanian language will be conveyed and to introduce facultative classes in Serbian, for pupils from first to eighth grade. Once more, it was emphasized that the village school was built in Ogjnanci in 1947, with villagers' own means, and it is open to all who would like to learn in Macedonian.

    The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of Macedonia "most severely criticized the emergence of xenophobia of group of parents in the village Ognjanci, and manipulation with the children", pointing to articles of the Convention for Protection of Rights of the Child in UN, ratified in Macedonia, which say that the child has a right to full and modern education.


    The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights have appointed the President of the Macedonian and Greek Helsinki Committee, Meto Jovanovski and Panayotis Dimitras observers at the coming court proceedings against the Greek citizen, Macedonian by origin, Christos Sideropulos, to be held on August 26 in Florina. Several Macedonian journalists asked the Greek Helsinki Committee to help them become accredited presence at the process.

    The formal Greek reply to this demands, given through the Greek Foreign Ministry and embassy in Wien, was that " it is a trial of one Greek citizen with no need of attendance of foreign citizens".

    Christos Sideropulos is convicted for standing for the rights of the Macedonian minority in Greece.


    Several days ago in Misisaga, Canada, as Nova Makedonija informs, the visit of the head of the of the Macedonian Orthodox Church Father Mikhail, ended by an evening service. Asked about the effects of the Greek-Macedonian agreement and change of the flag and article 49 from the Macedonian Constitution at a dinner organized in his honor, Father Mikhail replied: "What is ours we have to keep and never to give up. You would have the right to protest against the signing of the so called small package. The flag - 16 sun rays -represents out statehood. No one in the country can change the Constitution. No one can make pressure on the state to give up its people only because they live outside its borders".

    Meantime, a protest is announced for October 1, in front of the building of the UN in New York, to express disagreement with the agreement signed by the Ministries of Greece and Macedonia.



    (Puls, 22 September) (Part II)

    A1 TV: You mentioned several times that the negotiations between Greece and Macedonia will continue under mediatorship of Syrus Vance, but you did not mention yourself. Are we losing your services ?

    Nimitz : Yes. I was appointed by the US President to help in the negotiations. Now, since we have made the Interim Accord and since the US established diplomatic relations with your country, my work is completed. I spent the last year and a half on the issue and I don't think that I 'm needed anymore. But, you will see me again.

    Greek TV ET: How will the rest of the world refer to this country? Greece will call it "Skopje", people in FYROM will call it "Macedonia", but how will the others call it?

    Nimitz : We call your country Greece, and in fact your name is the "Hellenic Republic". And I do not address your country as the "Hellenic Republic", but I call it Greece. Also, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland we call only Britain. We use lot of words which technically speaking are not names of the countries. I think that it is not a big problem. The US has recognized the state and established diplomatic relations using the term "FYROM". But, many counties have recognized the country under its constitutional name "Republic of Macedonia". To me, a larger part of the people in this country when speaking for this country or in the non-official addressing have a tendency to use the word Macedonia. Many are doing that. What about in the long run? I can't say now, but whatever they use, formally or non-formally, should not be aimed at criticizing.

    Telephone questions to Nimitz from Washington: Why did it take such a long time to reach on the agreement and will in the end Germany or European Union generally have certain role?

    Nimitz : The question is why did it take such a long time, but I would ask myself how we were so fortunate to happen this so soon. I worked on the Cyprus project for already 25 years. Most of this problems need longer time to be solved. However, I think that this was a reasonable period in which first of all, the atmosphere in both of the countries has changed, and in the past it was heated. The progress in fact is in that the both sides now can communicate between them, and can enter in direct communication between themselves. As for the role of the EU and Germany in the process we made, I can say that there were diplomats working in the capital cities in both countries, who tried to negotiate with both sides, gave useful suggestions so that I can say that the effort that they made helped as support.

    Antenna TV (Greece): Once when the Interim Accord starts to work, will both sides have to come to New York to continue the negotiations or can say :"we don't want to talk about the name"?

    Nimitz : We agreed for the negotiations to continue under patronage of the UN Secretary General and I think that includes good will to continue talks about the problem which exists and the Security Council has identified as a problem. There are mechanisms, modalities for that, and it will be easier for both sides, both nations and for UN. The aim is to reach a solution. The aim is not to embarrass someone or to put anyone against the wall. The final aim is good neighbourship. It is my opinion that this agreement in some sense at least leads to some relations. This issue will be much easier to solve if the atmosphere in both countries is one of cooperation rather than a hostile one. If, for instance, the flag is changed, which was one of the main remarks of the Greek people sensitive to that, it will create a feeling that something has been reached and will take away feelings of antagonism and tension. It will create a better atmosphere, enabling the two sides to come to diplomatic relations and in general an atmosphere in which it will be easier to talk and find a solution.

    Mega TV (Greece): You are saying that this agreement does not solve the name issue, but can we say that the sides agreed on this issue?

    Nimitz: I think that they agreed that there are differences. That is true. They also agreed they would not allow these differences to stand in the way of other kinds of cooperation which they can realize together. That is what matters. They also agreed to continue to talk of the differences under patronage of the UN Secretary General. That is a very reasonable attitude to the problem.

    Greek press: I have three fast questions. Nothing here is fast but, anyway I'll try. The US yesterday opened an embassy in Skopje. Under what name - FYROM or Macedonia?

    Nimitz : Allow me to explain that right now. Our diplomatic relations and the recognition use the formulation "former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia" under provisory usage.

    Greek press: Let us suppose that the Skopje Parliament will reject the agreement. What will happen then?

    Nimitz : That is a serious problem. If the parliament rejects the agreement then there is no agreement, and that will create one very bad felling and we will see what happens then. I think that this agreement is very favorable for both sides. However, I consider that President Gligorov and his government which has majority in the parliament have certain assumptions when they signed the agreement and of course without expectations that the agreement would be rejected.

    Greek press: And the third fast question: Let us suppose that we will agree on the name issue and it will be accepted in the UN. Will the Skopjan's be allowed to change it again?

    Nimitz: Allow me to say something about the name issue. The name of this country in fact is elected by the state itself. We did not choose the name Canada, we did not choose the name for Mexico. The countries themselves choose their own names.

    Greek press: But it is not the case now.

    Nimitz: The only particular here is that the neighbors stands against the name. But, however, they are the ones who will choose their name. Greece can not choose the name. Greece can only say that it is against the name chosen by the other side. Of course, this issue is already solved in a certain way. Not even the UN are the one to choose the name. The UN can only admit a country as a full member. After they recognize it, they can deal with what to put in front of the representative of that country. That is their problem. In this case, they did not choose the name for the country, but say that only temporarily will address it as "former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia". As I already said, they can decide to address us with "former Britain colony North America". That is not our name just as FYROM is not the name of this country. That means not only that there is a certain disagreement and until agreement can be reached with international organization and certain countries can use it so to overcome the delicacy of their relations. We only use the temporary reference...

    (to be continued)


    mils news 25 September'95

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