April 7, 1993:
The United Nations Security Council:
– Notes that there is a difference in the dispute over the name of the country, a difference that must be resolved in the interest of maintaining a peaceful neighborly relations in the region
– Recommends that the UN General Assembly accepts the country as a member, whose application is recorded as document S / 25147….”
Undoubtedly, this was a huge historic success for the citizens, although the country was named after the number of the membership application submitted to the UN (S / 25147). Great, centuries-old victory won in a turbulent period for the entire Balkans. Finally, once and (probably) for all, the family of nations with Resolution 817 has formally recognized our sovereign authority over this territory, titled as “the state whose request is recorded as document S / 25147”. This decision of the Security Council, very likely at that moment, pulled our country out of the whirlwind of war, and at the same time, it opened the gates of achieving the centuries-old dream of “independent pursuit of happiness”. Even then, the majority of citizens decided to do so through the path of Euro-Atlantic integration.
Since then, more than 25 years have passed in “the state whose request has been registered as document S / 25147”. Generations of people have changed. Generations of politicians have changed. The Left and the right have changed. Several reforms were made in the education, health, economy, judiciary, finance, the police, the military… we were at the brink of war, we were on the verge of a state of emergency… tens of billions of euros of budget money were spent, unemployment remained at record level in Europe… the administration was politicized, several hundred thousand citizens moved out… the society was unhealthy and politically polarized, history was distorted. Certainly, there were some beautiful things that at least for a moment encouraged the nation. But at the end of the day, “the state whose request has been registered as document S / 25147” seems to have failed to find its own happiness. At least not in a way that was enthusiastically hoped on April 7th, 1993, when it became part of the world’s family of sovereign states. Every year (or in the short term) the various indexes that measure poverty, media freedom, foreign investment, economic growth, respect for human rights, creditworthiness, GDP growth, democracy… relentlessly testify of the failure. The visual recordings of 27 April 2017 before and in the Assembly were an additional argument for its fragility to the extent that questions the very existence, even after 28 years of sovereignty.
But why didn’t we manage to find happiness in all these years of independence? Why the doubt whether we will succeed as a state or will fall apart is still strongly present in a large part of the society? Why did we stay at the bottom after all the measurable parameters for “life” in the society? The answer is simple. Because after 25 years we have remained “the state, whose request is recorded as document S / 25147”.
It’s simple, we did not fulfill the only legate (obligation) derived from the Resolution (817), which was revived by the centuries-old dream of an independent state – and that is to find a mutually acceptable solution to the differences over the name of our country with the Republic of Greece “in the interest of maintaining peaceful and good neighborly relations in the region”. This legate, this obligation for our country, voluntarily accepted by our side in order to have an internationally recognized state, instead of being a symbol of unification and reflection of the maturity of having its own country, unfortunately, it turned into a symbol of divisions and quasi patriotism throughout this period of independence. The legate is painful and painful, of course, but it was the requirement for us to have our own money, our own army and our own national football team.
After 25 years of internal and external discussions over the key obligation arising from UN Resolution 817, and after 25 years of self-deception that “time is on our side” and that we will be able to build a civilized state without complying with the internationally undertaken obligation of 1993, today, before the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia there is a proposal-decision for fulfilling the legate. A draft decision for which each individual, being sovereign in this country, will be able to express his / her personal position. A draft decision whose decision can essentially divert the future of the state from one direction to another. A question which also deserves an answer directly from the sovereign – the citizens. Therefore, we must not avoid personal responsibility at these key moments and hide behind the boycott. We must not give up our personal right to self-determination about the future and destiny of the state, and in that way we transfer it to the Assembly or the parties. Not only because the referendum is foreseen in the programs of key political parties as a mandatory step towards fulfilling the obligation of the Resolution (817), but mostly for the sake of themselves, as sovereign and independent decision makers for the future and fate of our country.
Perhaps the majority of citizens will accept the offered proposal, maybe they will not. There may be a new proposal, maybe not. There may be a new referendum, perhaps not. But one thing is certain, and that is that the time to fulfill the obligation under UN Resolution 817 is working against us. Probably the possible referendum proposal in 2008 would have been less painful for us, even more likely that the same such proposal in 1998 would be even less tortuous. But, unfortunately, the legate is still standing in front of us today, we are still formally “the state whose request has been registered as document S / 25147” in the UN, and time does not go back.
And we should fool ourselves. We are recognized by 137 countries under the constitutional name of the state, because we are a UN member state. But we are a UN member state because we have undertaken the obligation to find a mutually acceptable solution to the difference over the name of our country, a solution that unfortunately can not be the constitutional name. And that difference must be resolved as soon as possible. It is an internationally undertaken obligation of our state, a price for the sovereignty and independence of the state, a price that this (or some future generation) will have to pay.
The responsibility is great. We are at a historic crossroads. Let’s take responsibility.
member of the Executive Committee of VMRO-DPMNE