Skopje remains open for new incentives and offers to solve the name dispute

Skopje remains open for new incentives and offers to solve the name dispute

Skopje, December 30, 2013/ Balkan Independent News Agency

In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, authorities say that they are willing for the name dispute issue of this country to receive a final solution. For this, diplomacy in Skopje promises that it’s open to be involved in talks for new incentives and offers over the solution of the name dispute. Foreign minister, Nikol Popovski says that his country will continue to launch incentives and remains open for offers and intensive negotiations with Athens over the solution of the name dispute.

In meetings with foreign ambassadors and diplomatic representatives in Skopje, where different political and economic topics were discussed, Mr. Popovski has stressed the engagement of the government for the solution of the name dispute.

Commenting on what Skopje expects during the Greek presidency from January next year, Popovski says that Skopje doesn’t like the fact that Greece will not be focused in the process of EU enlargement. Mr. Popovski said that FYR Macedonia will not be in the work agenda of the Greek presidency.

“Crisis in Greece has averted the process for the solution of the name dispute by politicians of this neighboring country. This is why it’s clear that political relations are not a priority due to the current situation which is ruling in the neighboring country”, declared the head of Skopje’s diplomacy.

High hopes were soon destroyed

In principle, Skopje refuses the proposals, which according to it, risk the identity and Macedonian language.

A few months ago, there were high hopes to intensify the process of the solution through the negotiations led by UNO intermediary in New York, Mathew Nimitz. The latter offered a proposal for the solution of the name dispute, where the name Upper Republic of Macedonia was proposed.

This proposal was offered by Albanian party in power, BDI and Ali Ahmeti. The leader of this party unveiled this proposal, by declaring that it’s an unacceptable solution for the Albanians that live in FYR Macedonia.

The head of BDI, Ali Ahmeti appeals for a solution to be found as far as the contest that has lasted several years is concerned.

“Every delay in the solution of the name dispute has consequences for the country and the region, because every deadlock brings insecurity and regress. Brussels should be engaged more, because Macedonia is in front of two choices, EU and NATO integration, or isolation”, says Mr. Ahmeti.

Albanian ministers in the government of Skopje, such as deputy prime minister for European integration, Fatmir Besimi continues with his efforts and meetings to find a solution for this dispute.

Nonetheless, there is yet to be a tangible result.

Politics share different stances

Opposition party Democratic Social League (LSDM) assesses that there has been no progress about the name dispute.

Tito Petkovski, leader of the New Social Democratic Party (PRSD) says that current government doesn’t want to change its positioning on the name dispute and it’s dragging this issue infinitely.

“If we don’t have a wider involvement of the public opinion, political parties, religious communities and general potentials in the country on this issue, I don’t expect anything to move forward in this aspect”, says Mr. Petkovski.

Pavle Trajanov from the Democratic League, a party of the governing coalition says that this process needs complementary efforts and a serious engagement of EU, including USA.

President of the country, George Ivanov is critical toward Athens. He demands an acceptable solution for both sides and says: “The other side always comes up with ultimative stances and only wants to satisfy its demands”.

Civil society is skeptic and critical

Biljana Vankovska is expert on security issues and professor at the Philosophy Faculty in the University of Skopje. Speaking for balkaneu.com, Mrs. Vankovska says that Greece is superior because it has imposed the name dispute as a criteria for integrating processes, taking advantage of its membership in the NATO and EU.

According to Mrs. Vankovska, Athens has nothing to lose in case of a compromise.

“What the international community sees as a compromise is euphemism made to our country in the form of an ultimatum. Greece is interested to drag this name dispute. Greek politics thus buy time and wait to see what happens to our state, as to whether it will resist or destroy in front of the pressure of this dispute”.

Mrs. Vankovska also raises another concern: “What should worry us is the postponement of our integrating process, bearing in mind the 1995 Interim Agreement and the ruling of the International Justice Tribunal. I’d like to recall the fact that Greece was obliged not to prevent the association of our country with the interim reference of FYROM”.

Dr. Vankovska assesses that the government and politics of Skopje in general have learned how to use these issues in domestic political battles, to win power or to remain in power”.

Another fact pointed out by Mrs. Vankovska is that the issue of the name dispute doesn’t relate to just one government.

“It’s not only the government of VMRO-DPMNE and BDI postponing the process of the solution of the name dispute. No government is ready to commit historical suicide by playing with the issue of identity, because Greece doesn’t only seek to change the name of our state, but also the symbols of the identity of the majority of the population of our country”.

Admitting that this is an issue which has sent everyone in the past, Vankovska says that the issue of the name dispute is hindering the joint future.

Polls show hatred against Greece

Center for International Cooperation and Institute for Democracy in FYR Macedonia have carried out a survey published yesterday over the relations with neighboring countries.

Research of public opinion has been carried out through an on field survey from November 15 to December 1, 2013 with 1 thousand respondents.

Relations with neighbors are important for FYR Macedonia, according to 93,2% of citizens. Amongst 5 neighboring countries of FYR Macedonia, citizens perceive Serbia (42,5%) as the friendliest neighboring country, followed by Albania (with 18,5%). Meanwhile, Greece (with 81,2%) is seen as the most hostile neighboring country. 22,8%  of the population believe that no country is hostile to FYR Macedonia. /ibna/