World Bulletin/News Desk
Nikola Popovski, Foreign Minister of Macedonia said his country showed utmost willingness to continue the negotiations with Greece on the name dispute in an exclusive interview to AA in New York, at the end of the 68th UN General Assembly session.
“That is not a frozen conflict” Popovski said, but admitted it going for a very long period of time. Asked if Macedonia was ready for compromise, he offered lamented respond with a biter-sweat fact-sheet of legal victories and political defeats:
“We have shown capacity to do the compromise to such extend that no one else could have imagine. We have already made tremendous sacrifice by accepting the compromise solution back in 1995, which is an Interim Agreement – meaning, changing flag, changing constitution, providing guarantee to our counterpart, and for that we didn’t get (anything), but rather accepting humiliating title at the United Nations.”
After the breakup of Yugoslavia, in which Macedonia was one of the six constitutional republics, the use of her name (Republic of Macedonia) became a subject of a long dispute with Greece. Since 1991, Athens is objecting the right for using the name “Macedonia” without a geographical qualifier, suggesting the names like “Northern Macedonia”, or even “Nova Macedonia”, and citing historical and territorial concerns.
In April 1993, the UN Security Council approved the admission of Macedonia to United Nations, but being “provisionally” for all purposes within the UN as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (FYROM) – and still pending settlement of the name dispute.
Macedonia made concessions to Athens for “only one objective,” Popovski said to AA: “to allow our country to make progress toward Euro-Atlantic integrations.”
Popovski added, "Athens didn’t respect the agreement made with Skopje under the auspices of the United Nations: The one and only commitment that Greece has made has been violated,” Macedonian Foreign Minister said.
Under the Interim Accord, signed in New York in September 1995, Macedonia changed its flag and constitution. For its part, Greece agreed that it would not object for Macedonia to join a variety of international organizations so long as it used the name FYROM. But, at the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008 Athens vetoed and blocked the acceptance of Macedonia (although under name FYROM) to the North Atlantic military alliance.
Before Macedonian delegation met the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, at the end of the plenary debate of the UN General Assembly, Popovski said that Macedonia kept this topic high on the agenda while talking to other international dignitaries.
“The think is that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has already said that it would not expect from the member state of the United Nations to repeat the behavior that has been defined illegal in its judgment in 2011,” Popovoski said.
In November 2008, Macedonia sued Greece at ICJ for a “flagrant violation of (Greece’s) obligations under Article 11 of the Interim Accord” signed under the umbrella of UN in 1995. The alleged violation was referring to blockade by Athens to Macedonia's bid for NATO membership. In December 2011 – the ICJ ruled in favor of Macedonia – saying Athens should have abided by the 1995 deal.
Only excuse from Athens
“What is missing at the moment is that one member state of the United Nations is not ready to respect the Charter of the United Nations, it is not respecting its international engagements, and it is definitely the party that is blocking Macedonia’s accession to EU,” Popovski told AA, pointing out to Greece.
Answering to the objections from Greece, that Macedonia is abusing Greek ancient history, saying Skopje was full of evidence for it. In Macedonian capital many monuments of historical figures, which they claim belonged to Greeks were installed all over which Popovski considers as "only excuses” for not acting on the problem.
“Frankly speaking they can not be defined as anything else but simply excuses. I think that Greek political leadership has shown an extreme capacity to look for different sources of excuses over the last 20 years. The only excuse, or the only explanation they haven’t provided is how they can violate international law and previously undertaken engagements for such a long period of time. And how would they justify the membership at the United Nations, through that optics. That is still unanswered question,” Popovski said.
Top Macedonian diplomat said, “in the current situation it is obvious, there is definitely a lack of willingness to overcome the issue, which is the only issue that is not resolved in bilateral Greek-Macedonian relations, that are outside of that picture really perfect.”
Popovski went to say that there was also “no readiness to come and look forward,” and offer “some real contribution in regional stability and prosperity.”
“That is what we are missing,” Popovski told AA.Last Mod: 30 Eylül 2013, 10:13