14 years from the signing of the Ohrid Agreement

14 years from the signing of the Ohrid Agreement

Skopje, 13 August 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

The 14th anniversary of the Ohrid Agreement is being marked today in FYR Macedonia. This agreement ended the 2001 conflict in the country.

14 years after the signing of this agreement, which guaranteed more rights for Albanians, as the second largest ethnic group, Albanians are still unsatisfied and complain about the failure in delivering the obligations of this agreement.

The negotiations, which lasted around two months in the city of Ohrid, were held under the auspices of the then president of the country, Boris Trajkovski, while it was signed by the head of the Macedonian Social Democratic Union (SDSM), Branko Crvnenkovski, leader of the Albanian Democratic Party (PDSH), Arben Xhaferri, leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Lupco Georgievski and leader of the Democratic Prosperity Party (PPD), Imer Imeri.

The agreement was signed in the presence of François Leotard, special envoy of the European Union and James Perdue, special envoy of the United States.

However, debates continue as to the extent in which this agreement has been delivered.

One of the drafters of the agreement, Vlado Popovski says that after the signing of the agreement, the country has seen changes,.

“I believe that there still exist problems with the Ohrid Agreement. First of all, mentality has not changed at all. The agreement is still being deemed to take from Macedonians and give to Albanians”, Popovski says.

The largest Albanian party in opposition, PDSH (Albanian Democratic Party), declared today that it’s worried to see that even 14 years after it was signed, the agreement has not been fulfilled yet.

“The failure to meet the basic obligations that emanate from this agreement makes BDI’s manifestations and celebrations pointless and one question arises: What is BDI commemorating today besides failure and incompetence?”, PDSH says.

This party says that it has a new agreement, which is part of its political platform and that its basis is the advancement of the rights of Albanians in FYROM.

The Secretariat for the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement has conducted an analysis as to how much this agreement has been implemented.

“The analysis will show what we have achieved, what shortfalls there have been and based on this analysis, we will draw conclusions. However, we still see that citizens are divided on an ethnic basis. One side thinks that they have gained a lot, the other says it hasn’t been gained a lot”, Musa Xhaferri, deputy Prime Minister for the Implementation of the Ohrid Agreement, declares.

Analyst Ramadan Ramadani says that the Ohrid Agreement has remained as it was 14 years ago.

“This agreement hasn’t changed anything big in Macedonia. Today, we’re a country which has not yet been integrated in the NATO and EU, a country with ethnic problems and a country where Albanians are deprived of their rights. This agreement, which was reached to enhance the rights of Albanians, was used by a party for its own interests”, Ramadani says.

Albanian parties and analysts say that the issue of the use of the Albanian language is yet to be solved, along with the use of symbols, proportional division of the budget and state investments.

The Ohrid Agreement, which was signed by four political leaders of that time, put an end to the 7 month conflict between Macedonian security forces and a military formation called National Liberation Army formed by dissidents and Albanian emigrants of the Diaspora, who demanded to put an end to the discrimination of Albanians in FYROM and more rights for them. /ibna/