Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Skopje, Athens to hold fresh round of talks

UN mediator Matthew Nimetz will conduct a fresh round of talks with representatives of Macedonia and Greece about the name issue.

In the course of two-day talks in New York, mediator Nimetz is expected to put forward a new proposal on Macedonia's name. The representatives of the two countries will convey Nimetz's proposal to their governments.

On Tuesday, President Branko Crvenkovski and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski held a coordination meeting over the issue.

President Crvenkovski said on Wednesday that mediator Nimetz is likely to table a new concrete proposal.

"I am not sure, but it's quite possible that mediator Nimetz presents a concrete proposal for settlement of the name dispute. In such case, we will assess the proposal and adjust the stands," Crvenkovski said.

He added that during the meeting with PM Gruevski they didn't discuss the double-name formula.

"We did not discuss about the double-name formula and I believe that reactivation of the double name in late stage of Macedonian-Greek talks would not encourage the talks but it could hinder them. Any obstruction of talks will do disservice to Macedonia," Crvenkovski said.

Police set to remove beggars from Skopje streets

Police started an organized action for curbing down the begging on the streets of Skopje, Makfax informed.
Ministry of Interior announced today that the action codenamed "Begging" will be carried out in continuity, . The operation was prepared and will be realized in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare through the Public Facility Inter-Municipal Center for Social Affairs - Skopje.
According to the plan of the action, underage delinquency inspectors along with inspectors for property-related crime will patrol with an unmarked vehicle at crossroads, buildings, shopping malls, bridges, i.e. locations where this phenomenon is most commonly present.
As many as 23 spots in the city were encompassed in the course of Wednesday, the first day of the action, majority of which were under jurisdiction of the police precinct "Centre". In addition, the action was carried out on a number of locations on the territories of police precincts Bit Pazar, Aerodrom, Karpos and Gjorce Petrov.
The Police detained 11 adults and 13 minors, whose parents will receive warnings and reports in line with the Law on Public Order and Peace, and adequate measures for taking care of children-beggars will be taken in cooperation with the Inter-Municipal Center for Social Affairs.

Vipro to invest EUR 750 in a new plant

Food processing company Vipro, based in Gevgelija, will invest EUR 750,000 in expanding production capacities. Vipro will obtain this money as a loan from Greek EU pre-accession fund.

The company will build a new production facility with the floor space of 4,000 square meters and 50,000 square meters of surroundings.

This will provide for 10 million new production units, instead of the present 2 million, thus increasing the production capacity five-fold.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Esma Redzepova, Boulevard Nightclub, London

Macedonia's presence in Britain is nowhere near as large as Poland's, but this is their national day, and it looks as if every Macedonian in town has come to see their country's most famous singer, Esme Redzepova, aka Queen of the Gypsies, bring a spectacular and intimate night of showmanship and soul to this R&B, house and hip-hop nightclub. The bouncers have never seen anything like it.

Packed on the Ealing club's little stage behind microphones with more reverb than a haunted house, the band warm up an enthusiastic audience with a couple of wild dance tunes before Redzepova makes her entrance in cocek costume – her red headscarf covered in a black veil for the gypsy lament of "Zaidi Zaidi", along with a red handkerchief to wipe a symbolic tear from each eye at the end. It's hammy, theatrical, ritualistic, yet still raises the hairs on the back of the neck.

Redzepova's six-strong band is made up of children she and her late husband adopted from the streets of Skopje and Belgrade – 47 in all, all grown up now. The band is led by the burly figure of accordion player and arranger Simeon Atanasov, once a six-year-old street kid with pneumonia, bronchitis and a slim chance of survival. With him are a clarinet player and trumpeter, who exchange instruments, even mouthpieces, to tease out melodic torrents midway through a Roma wedding tune, and a double bassist and guitarist keeping different calendars of time behind the accordion and brass.

The trumpeter gets a whack from Redzepova for wheeling into her space; he shoots back a look of boyish reproach, then plays himself back into favour, blowing softly around her in tandem with the clarinettist, their playing rising and falling subtly to her own supremely accomplished, powerfully emotive vocals.

There's no other instrument like Redzepova's voice, and the Boulevard can't contain it – the PA's sound resembles that of her recordings in Fifties Budapest. But the inventiveness and elegance of the set is breathtaking, with snatches of Balkan cabaret and showboating carrying familiar tunes off into unexpected detours that take you as near as you'll get to the spirit of a Roma wedding.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Skopje will recognize Kosovo Sept 23, writes Pristina daily

Macedonia will recognize Kosovo on September 23rd. That’s according to the Serbian B92 radio station, which cites a Pristina daily – the Zeri.
Macedonia has bound the recognition with border demarcation issue, but the Zeri claims “this was settled in the recent days, mainly in the sensitive region of Debalde,” the radio says.
The daily writes also that “with a view to the internal political situation in Montenegro it is not quite certain whether Podgorica will immediately follow” Macedonia’s steps in recognizing Kosovo’s independence.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ohrid Lake, Pelister Eyes and Vrelo caves, world wonders candidates

Ohrid Lake, lakes at mountain Pelister called "Pelister Eyes", and caves "Vrelo" at Matka are the three natural beauties that citizens have selected to represent Macedonia at the global campaign on the new seven wonders of nature. These three natural beauties will be proposed by the Macedonian supporting committee, which is supported by the Ministry of Economy.

People can already vote for the Ohrid Lake at the new seven wonders website, whereas Pelister Eyes and Vrelo caves will soon be put on the list. Voting will last until December 31, with the top 77 entering the next selection round.

Nikola Gruevski: We showed that Macedonia can survive

All Macedonia’s governments over the last 17 years, including the present one, have done everything to build a hard, independent and free country, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said after his visit to the Millenary Cross at the Vodno Mountain in Skopje from where he had greeted Macedonian citizens on occasion of the Independence Day, FOCUS News Agency correspondent in Skopje informed.
“17 years ago Macedonian citizens voted for independence without any hesitation. They voted for the formation of a country, which will survive and develop. We have shown as a country and nation that we can survive as we had passed through hard moments,” he added.

Macedonia Celebrates Independence Day

Macedonia celebrates today 17 years since its independence from Yugoslavia, national media reported on Monday.

On September 8, 1991, 95 per cent of Macedonia’s citizens answered affirmatively to the referendum question, which endorsed independence from Yugoslavia, albeit legalising participation in a future union of the federation’s former states.

The main celebration of the anniversary will be held in one of the capital Skopje’s main squares, Makedonia. Festivities start at 8pm with a musical programme, the government announced, followed by a speech by the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and concluded by fireworks at midnight.

The government, according to media reports, has said it will organise free transportation to Macedonians from other towns who want to attend the festivities in the capital.

Meanwhile, as the Sitel television station reported, about 5,000 Macedonians decided to spend their national holiday in Greece.

It seems that despite the long-running political dispute between the two countries over Macedonia’s constitutional name, which reached new heights recently, regular Macedonian citizens don’t see anything wrong with spending their holidays in Greece.

A total of 10,000 Macedonian citizens have crossed the border between the two countries in September, seemingly undeterred by earlier reports of Macedonian border authorities’ singling out as and hassling “unpatriotic” Macedonian holidaymakers who chose to travel to Greece.

Scotland embarrassed by Macedonia

Macedonia 1 Scotland 0

Scotland suffered a disappointing start to their World Cup qualifying campaign when they slumped to defeat against Macedonia in their opening match.

The home side took the lead after just five minutes and Ilcho Naumoski’s strike proved to be decisive as Srecko Katanec’s men held on to claim all three points.

The searing temperatures in Skopje were always going to be an issue for the Scots and they lacked a cutting edge for the remainder of the game, failing to find the goal that would at least have allowed them to put an early point on the board.

George Burley had his preferred team in mind for several weeks ahead of this match and there were no real surprises when his starting XI was revealed.

Kenny Miller and James McFadden both started and were given the task of getting the goals despite a less than inspiring partnership in last month’s drab goalless friendly against Northern Ireland at Hampden.

With West Brom’s James Morrison injured, Barry Robson was given the nod in midfield alongside Celtic team-mates Paul Hartley and Scott Brown, as well as Darren Fletcher.

As expected, stand-in skipper Stephen McManus was able to shake off a knock he picked up in last week’s Old Firm derby to take his place in the heart of defence with Gary Caldwell.

Hundreds of Scotland fans were locked out of the City Stadium before kick-off when the Macedonian Football Association refused to allow entry to those with tickets for the home end, fearing for the safety of fans.

The 1,000 travelling supporters who did manage to see the game witnessed the worst possible start when Scotland found themselves trailing with just five minutes on the clock.

The Macedonians earned a free-kick just outside the area when McManus was deemed to have fouled Goran Maznov and Goce Sedloski stepped up for the set-piece. His effort was touched on to the post by goalkeeper Craig Gordon but Naumoski pounced to rifle home the rebound from six yards.

The Scots could have hit back through a free-kick of their own when Graham Alexander was fouled by Robert Petrov but Robson’s curling shot was weak and easily smothered by goalkeeper Petar Milosevski.

Macedonia threatened again when Petrov provided a cross from the left for Goran Pandev but his ferocious volley cannoned off the body of Caldwell, denying the home side’s star man the chance to add to their tally.

Scotland then had a decent chance of their own when Fletcher set up McFadden and he embarked on a run which took him past several red jerseys only for his shot to be blocked by the body of Igor Mitreski, before the Birmingham striker nodded the rebound wide.

At the other end, the home fans screamed for a penalty when Maznov went to ground under pressure from Gordon but the Macedonia man appeared to make the most of it and the pleas were ignored by referee Pavel Kralovec.

Veliche Shumolikoski then released Maznov on a surging run which was halted by Caldwell. The ball broke to Pandev but he fired straight at Gordon in what proved to be the last real chance of the first half.

Scotland tried to force their way back into the game after the break and Scott Brown drew a decent save from Milosevski with a well-struck shot from distance, before the heroics of Gordon prevented the visitors from falling further behind.

A Pandev corner was cleared as far as Shumolikoski who unleashed a thunderous long range effort that the Scots keeper just managed to tip over the crossbar with one hand.

Gordon then punched to safety a dangerous cross into the box from Pandev before Maznov could connect with a header at his right post.

Scotland made their first change when Kris Commons replaced Hartley, before Gordon was again called into action to block a point-blank effort from Naumoski.

Burley’s men failed with their own claim for a penalty when Miller played through McFadden and he went to ground as the goalkeeper dived to claim the ball.

No spot-kick was forthcoming and all McFadden earned for his protests was a yellow card from the Czech official.

Miller was withdrawn for Rangers team-mate Kris Boyd with ten minutes to go as the Scots had one last throw of the dice but Macedonia held on for maximum points with Burley still seeking his first win as Scotland manager.

Macedonia: Milosevski, Noveski, Petrov, Sedloski, Mitreski, Lazarevski, Georgievski, Shumulikoski, Maznov, Pandev, Naumoski. Replacements: Pacovski, Polozani, Tasevski, Demiri, Trajanov, Grncarov, Ristic.

Scotland: Gordon, Alexander, Naysmith, McManus, Caldwell, Hartley, Fletcher, Brown, Miller, McFadden, Robson. Replacements: McGregor, Boyd, Broadfoot, Maloney, Commons, Stewart, Berra.

Referee: Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic)

Player ratings:

CRAIG GORDON: The only player to enhance his reputation. Deserved better for the goal after a brilliant save onto the post, and followed that up with another stunning stop – 7/10.

GRAHAM ALEXANDER: Solid enough defensively but simply did not get forward enough from right-back, especially in the first half – 4.

STEPHEN McMANUS: Appeared unlucky to concede the free-kick which led to the goal. Looked uncomfortable in the first half but improved, holding a higher line after the break – 5.

GARY CALDWELL: Magnificent tackle to prevent Goran Maznov making it 2-0. Made a couple of other vital interventions as well – 6.

GARY NAYSMITH: Much more of a threat than Alexander, the left-back delivered one superb cross after the break – 5.

SCOTT BROWN: Repeatedly gave the ball away in the first half and faded badly in the second – 4.

PAUL HARTLEY: Struggled to nullify the threat of the deep-lying Goran Pandev and failed to set the right tempo from his deep-lying midfield position – 4.

DARREN FLETCHER: Failed to make any significant impact on the game – 4.

BARRY ROBSON: Looked the most likely midfielder to cause Macedonia problems, with some good runs and testing deliveries from set-pieces – 5.

JAMES McFADDEN: The one outfield player who looked a genuine threat, he was often a one-man attack and was unlucky to be denied a second-half penalty – 6.

KENNY MILLER: Cut a lonely figure in front of a midfield which failed to provide adequate support or service. Also had a good penalty shout – 4.


KRIS BOYD (for Miller, 80): No time to make a significant impact – 4.

SHAUN MALONEY (for Robson, 76): Looked lively but introduced too late – 5.

KRIS COMMONS (for Hartley, 65): One very dangerous cross but otherwise largely ineffective – 5.

Burley disappointed at defeat

George Burley insisted Scotland did enough for a draw as their World Cup qualifying campaign got off to the worst possible start in Macedonia.

In his first competitive game in charge, Burley watched his side concede just five minutes into the game in a wretched first-half display in Skopje.

But Burley, still without a win four games after taking over, insists his side’s improved second-half display deserved more.

"Disappointed to lose but all of the second half I thought we dominated the game," he told Setanta Sports 1.

"We kept battling away until the end and I thought they deserved something out of it."

Scotland were denied what appeared two good penalty shouts in the same attack when Kenny Miller and James McFadden were brought down in the box.

"I spoke to the boys and they thought it was a stonewall penalty," said Burley, who refused to criticise a referee he had expressed concern about in the build-up to the match.

"Overall, the referee had a good game. Maybe that decision he got wrong."

Burley refused to use the heat as an excuse for his side's slow start and revealed how his half-time team-talk led to an improved second-half showing.

"I said ’I want you to step on a bit more, not back off them, put them under pressure’," he said.

"And, second half, I thought we were outstanding. We played some good football, passed it well, but their keeper’s made a few good saves."

He added: "You don’t always get what you deserve."

Burley set a target of 17 points out of 24 from Scotland’s Group 9 campaign but he does not believe Wednesday’s match in Iceland has now become a must-win game.

But he said: "You’re always looking to pick points up."

Fans locked out

The misery of hundreds of Scotland fans at today’s World Cup qualifying defeat in Macedonia was compounded after they were refused entry to the ground.

Up to 1,000 supporters were locked out of the stadium in Skopje before kick-off after being told they had bought tickets for the home end and would not be allowed in on safety grounds.

Riot police were called in to ensure order was maintained, forcing supporters to return to town if they wanted to watch the game on television.

Scottish Football Association security advisor Derek Kirkwood said travel club members had been allowed entry with no problems.

But he added: "There’s probably about another thousand who have come over to Macedonia in the hope of maybe getting tickets for the match and they’ve been buying them off people in the street.

"Unfortunately, they’re for the Macedonian section of the stadium and the police commander in charge of the event is not allowing these people in."

The Macedonian FA had repeatedly warned in the build-up to the game that if they suspected spectators entering the home section to be Scottish then they would not be admitted.

Kirkwood insisted the SFA had made representations before the game to let these fans in but the efforts were refused, even though the stadium was not full as he had been told it would be.

He told BBC Scotland: "We’ve done absolutely everything we can in our power to say to them (the police), ’Look, these guys are known as the greatest fans in the world, won’t you please just let them in. I know they shouldn’t be buying tickets in the street but there’s room in this stadium. We can assure you they’ll go in there and not cause any bother’.

"But the police chief has just said, ’Absolutely not’."

Kirkwood admitted today’s scenes could be repeated in Wednesday’s qualifier in Iceland.

"We’ve only got 1,000 tickets for the stadium up in Reykjavik and again the Tartan Army want to see the game," he said.

Macedonia warns of Georgia fallout from blocked bids

Macedonia's deputy prime minister warned on Friday that Russian military intervention in Georgia could encourage fringe elements in his country if its bids to join the EU and NATO were not unblocked quickly.

Ivica Bocevski said there were two possible spinoffs in the Western Balkans from the Georgian crisis -- a spread of pro-European ideas or a spread of uncertainty.

He warned that further delay to efforts by the former Yugoslav republic to join the European and NATO could encourage 'marginal forces'.

'We need the opening of the negotiations, we need to see this process started and we need to see this process moving,' he told a seminar in Brussels. 'If the EU and NATO perspective is prolonged, cynicism can easily kick in.''We can imagine the whole European periphery as a great chessboard...if this chessboard is not filled by our figures, then the one playing against us can easily fill their place.'

Bocevski criticised Greece for using a dispute over the name of Macedonia to block his country's progress and added: 'We would like to urge the European Commission not to regard the name issue as an obstacle to our accession progress.''The momentum for permanently solving this potentially dangerous issue

is now,' he said. 'The EU's mission is to secure peace, prosperity and stability

to the whole European region; it can only be achieved by bringing Macedonia from

the periphery to the core of the European Union.'

Macedonia won EU candidate status in 2005, but the name row with Greece has delayed the setting of a date for the start of EU membership talks as well as its NATO bid.

Greece objects to the use of the name Macedonia, which is also the name of its own northern province, birthplace of national hero Alexander the Great. It says use of the name by its neighbour implies territorial ambitions.

The tiny Balkan state is known at the United Nations and other international bodies as the 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia', pending a settlement of U.N.-led talks with Greece.

On Thursday the European Commission -- the EU executive -- said Macedonia also needed to clean up its internal politics, including the way elections are conducted, to secure the start of membership talks.

Macedonia's general election in June was marred by violence and intimidation in mainly ethnic Albanian areas, posing a question mark over its ability to meet criteria to join the EU such as the rule of law and respect for minorities.

Branko Crvenovski doubts Macedonia to get a date for the negotiations with EU

If Macedonia doesn’t get e recommendation for a date to start the negotiations with EU in the EC audit report we can’t think that the report is positive, Macedonian President Branko Crvenovski said, Macedonian A1 television reports. “It is important for us that Macedonia will get a date for the negotiations, otherwise we can say that this had been an unsuccessful year, he pointed.
He doubted that there would be such recommendation.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Macedonia to help "Aegeans"

Macedonia's parliament in Skopje has passed a resolution instructing the government to help refugees from Greece.

The refugees, mostly ethnic Macedonians, are also known as Aegeans.

They need assistance in court processes aimed at regaining their property in Greece, confiscated during a civil war in that country, and during the Second World War.

MPs unanimously voted in favor of the resolution tabled by the ruling VMRO-DPMNE and the Democratic Union for Integration, as well as the opposition Social-Democratic Alliance of Macedonia.

Some 60,000 refugees left their homes in the so-called Aegean Macedonia. The Greek authorities are preventing them and the members of their families from returning to that country and from using their property.

Macedonian Premier Nikola Gruevski recently asked his Greek counterpart Kostas Karamanlis to solve this issue, and has also proposed that it be considered as part of the ongoing name dispute negotiations.

Secret deal between US and Greece?

According to Sam Vaknin in a text published by the Los Angeles Chronicle the US State Department has already made an agreement with the Greek Foreign Ministry for an ‘acceptable name’ in regards to Macedonia, citing DC sources.

Mr. Vaknin says, the deal was struck in a series of secret meeting between the US and Greek side in Washington DC in mid June.

The solution may be “Northern Macedonia”, the name Greek Lobbyist and UN Mediator Matthew Nimetz has proposed in the past two years.
Sam Vaknin states the Macedonian Government isn’t aware of the existence of this “Greco-American” plan which was coined so Macedonia becomes a member of NATO and would suit American interests in the region, explaining that Serbia is a Russian agent, while Greece is an Anti-American entity and a member of the NATO Alliance, hence Macedonia would cut off the connection between the two countries.

Though Mr. Sam Vaknin, an Israeli (obsessed with Macedonia and former employee of the Macedonian Government), is famous for his anti Macedonian writings in obscure news sites ever since his contract in Skopje was ‘cut short‘, his explanation may have some merit.

I say may have some merit as this morning the US Ambassador in Skopje, Milovanovic issued a fairly unfortunate statement: “Macedonia has no future if it’s not a NATO member”.
One must admit, NATO has exceeded the “Jesus Levels”. If you are not in NATO, you can pretty much commit suicide. With all do respect, Zambia and Zimbabwe and 130 other countries are not in NATO, and guess what, there they are, existing.

I am not angry with the US Ambassador, slip ups do occur, and getting angry with her would be like getting angry with my grand mother. Which is something I refuse to do.

The only thing Macedonia would gain from NATO membership is being targeted by Russia and needlessly spend millions of dollars in “membership fees“ for an organization that has nothing to do with defense, and a lot to do with offense. Should I add that NATO’s status as a military (occupational) organization has spurred the creation of more military organizations to defend themselves. NATO a stabilizing force? Think again.

Back to the name. Sam Vaknin theory, will quickly prove to be true or false at the UN meeting on September 23rd, when US Secretary of State Condi Rice will present the “take it or leave it” solution to both sides, or maybe to just one side if the other is already informed.

I personally believe Sam Vaknin to be one angry man, again, because he was let go from his ‘advisory’ post, and just can’t agree with the ’deal’ he claims was made. I don’t deny there may be a deal made, it wouldn’t surprise me, though not to the severity of Vaknin’s claims.

Northern Macedonia for all use will just not work because that is far from a compromise, and I don’t see the Macedonian Government accepting something they have refused several times, or changing the constitutional name, which is what essentially Greece had been trying to do all along.
I for one wont allow change on my passport, and yes, I'll fight you for it, there can only be Macedonia.

Are Greece jealous because we have only one name, and they have three?

Yazicioglu: Turkey Will Always Support Macedonia

Turkish State Minister Said Yazicioglu attended the opening of the new headquarters of Turkish Democracy Party in Macedonia on Friday.

Yazicioglu said that Republic of Turkey would continue to extend support to Macedonia.

The building of Turkish Democracy Party was constructed with the support of Turkish International Cooperation & Development Agency (TIKA).

Turkish State Minister Nazim Ekren, Turkish Ambassador in Skopje Arslan Hakan Okcal, TIKA Chairman Musa Kulakkaya and Macedonian Interior Minister Gordana Yankulovska attended the ceremony.

Bakoyannis: Greece to block Macedonia's EU entry talks

Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis made it clear that Greece would definitely block the opening of EU accession talks with Macedonia.

"We made clear and they are aware that there can be no Euro-Atlantic prospects unless the name dispute is resolved, because it's a foundation for good neighborly relations," Bakoyannis told Greek media.

She added that Greece would not allow Macedonization of its foreign policy given that there are much important issues.

"Such an attitude cannot produce a solution. Nikola Gruevski carries the sole responsibility for hindering the Euro-Atlantic prospects of Skopje," Bakoyannis said. /

Greek-American Plan to Resolve Macedonia's Name Issue?

According to reliable sources, on September 23, in the presence of the foreign ministers of both countries, Condolenzza Rice, Secretary of State of the United States of America, will present a plan to resolve a festering dispute between Greece, its (anti-American) nominal NATO ally, and Macedonia, a member of the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq and Afghanistan and a NATO aspirant. On September 24, the Plan will be submitted to the United Nations Security Council, probably to be passed as a Resolution. The Greek newspapers Ta Nea and Elefteros Typos published similar news on August 25 and August 21, respectively.

The Plan has been hatched in a series of secret meetings between Greek and American officials, culminating in a June 2008 conference held in Washington, involving Rice and Dora Bakoyannis, Greek's feisty Foreign Minister. The Macedonian government was kept out of the loop and may still be unaware of the existence of the Plan, let alone its contents.

It seems that the Greeks succeeded to convince the Americans that Macedonia is the intransigent party, piling one obstacle after another, in an attempt to avoid a politically unpopular settlement. Lately, the tiny polity's young Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, sought to enlarge the scope of the protracted negotiations to include other bilateral issues, such as the restoration of property to Macedonians expelled from Greece decades ago and the recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church by its Greek counterpart.

The Plan includes five elements:

1. The Republic of Macedonia will change its constitutional name (probably to Northern Macedonia, although that has not been decided yet). If true, this provision will constitute a major setback for Macedonia. No Macedonian government - let alone the current one - is likely to accept it.

2. Macedonia will be granted a transition period (of up to 10 years, according to some sources) - the time it would need to amend its constitution and to alter its registered name with various international and multilateral institutions.

3. Macedonia will be issued an invitation to join NATO (but not a date to start negotiations with the EU regarding its eventual accession).

4. Both countries will be allowed to use the adjective "Macedonian" (both commercially and non-commercially).

5. The parties will renounce any and all claims to each other's territory.

The "name issue" involves a protracted dispute over the last 17 years between the two Balkan polities over Macedonia's right to use its constitutional name, "The Republic of Macedonia". The Greeks claim that Macedonia is a region in Greece and that, therefore, the country Macedonia has no right to monopolize the name and its derivatives ("Macedonian").

The Greeks feel that Macedonians have designs on the part of Greece that borders the tiny, landlocked country and that the use of Macedonia's constitutional name internationally will only serve to enhance irredentist and secessionist tendencies, thus adversely affecting the entire region's stability.

Macedonia retorts that it has publicly renounced any claims to any territory of any of its neighbors. Greece is Macedonia's second largest foreign investor. The disparities in size, military power and geopolitical and economic prowess between the two countries make Greek "fears" appear to be ridiculous. Macedonians have a right to decide how they are to be called, say exasperated Macedonian officials.

The Greek demands are without precedent either in history or in international law. Many countries bear variants of the same name (Yemen, Korea, Germany until 1990, Russia and Byelorussia, Mongolia). Others share their name with a region in another country (Brittany in France and Great Britain across the channel, for instance).

In the alliance's Bucharest Summit, in April 2008, Macedonia was not invited to join NATO. Macedonia was rejected because it would not succumb to Greek intransigence: Greece insisted that Macedonia should change its constitutional name to cater to Greek domestic political sensitivities.

Thus, Serbia (and its ally, Russia) were left with access to a corridor, through non-NATO Macedonia to anti-American Greece and to the sea.

High-placed diplomatic sources in Washington told the Chronicle that the USA will now pressure Macedonia into changing its constitutional name in a way that will be acceptable to Greece and the powerful Greek lobbies in the USA. Should "friendly" persuasion fail, the USA will bare its fangs and may even threaten mild sanctions (the suspension of several military agreements).

Macedonia doesn't stand a chance of resisting such an onslaught. It will be forced into a humiliating retreat. An invitation to join NATO will promptly follow, in time for its ratification by all the member countries of the moribund Alliance.

Following the country's ill-advised early elections in June, 2008, the right-wing VMRO-DPMNE was coerced by the international community (read: the EU and the USA) into joining forces with DUI, the political incarnation of erstwhile Albanian insurgents in the northwest of Macedonia, hitherto an anathema as far as Gruevski, the incumbent Prime Minister, was concerned.

Hopping to bed with DUI will likely restrain the government's freedom of action. Every concession to Greece will be portrayed by jingoistic nationalists in Macedonia as capitulation and the consequence of blackmail by the Albanian parties. To the great consternation of the Macedonians, Albania, Macedonia's neighbor, has been invited to join NATO. The restive Albanians of Macedonia would like to accede to the Alliance as soon as practicable and at all costs. Understandably, they are less attached to the country's constitutional name than the non-Albanian (Macedonian) majority.

Milovanovic: Macedonia has no good future without NATO

There is no positive prospect for Macedonia unless it enters NATO soon, U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Gillian Milovanovic said in an interview with Alsat-M TV station.

"In short, I don't think there is any positive prospect for Macedonia without membership in NATO, and I mean quick membership in NATO. It's a part of the continuity of the progress of your country, it's a part of the progress and integration with Europe that you all want, therefore I think that this should be your priority objective," Milovanovic said.

Ambassador Milovanovic further said that she was convinced that the name dispute with Greece could be solved before expiration of the term of the incumbent U.S. President George Bush, however, serious focusing on resolving of the problem is a necessary prerequisite for this.

"The real question is whether the Macedonian and Greek leaderships are ready to focus seriously on the problem and to seek for a compromise solution," Milovanovic said in her farewell interview before leaving the country.

US 'Prepares Deal' on Macedonia Name Row

The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is reported to be preparing to present a plan for resolving the ‘name row’ between Greece and Macedonia on September 23.

This is according to unnamed diplomats as cited in local media but there has been no official confirmation.

According to the source, Rice would come forward with the plan in the presence of the Macedonian and Greek foreign ministers. The plan would be presented before the United Nations Security Council a day after, on September 24.

Meanwhile Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis confirmed to media that Greece is ready to veto Macedonia’s bid to start European Union accession talks which Skopje is hoping to receive a date for this autumn.

Asked whether Athens would accept the name “Northern Macedonia” Bakoyannis said that Athens would like to see a name with a geographical prefix for its northern neighbour and that this name contains one.

Media previously said some variations of this name might be in the pipeline.

On Monday, media in Greece suggested that the UN mediator in the row, the US diplomat Matthew Nimetz allegedly warned Macedonia’s Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski that he would freeze talks for six months if Gruevski continues with his provocative statements.

Gruevski last week blamed Athens of deliberately stalling of the talks.

Both countries on Tuesday reaffirmed their intent to stay proactive in the search for a solution and blamed the other side for the delays.

Greek -Macedonian relations hit a fresh low in April when Athens blocked Skopje’s invitation to join NATO arguing that Skopje’s name could lead it to make territorial claims on Greece’s own northern province which is also called Macedonia.

Macedonia's name has been recognised by around 120 countries worldwide.

Gruevski stirs things up

Just days after United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz said he wants to step up name talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the neighboring country’s prime minister, Nikola Gruevski, has sparked a new war of words.

Nimetz heralded a new round of more intense name talks during a visit to Thessaloniki on Friday. However, Gruevski’s comments yesterday seem to indicate that a solution to the name talks is as far away as ever.

“Greece has deep and serious problems,” he said. “You know that a serious scandal breaks out almost every two weeks. They need to focus on the name issue because the government is faced with early elections due to the scandals.

“They are structuring their policy in such a way that they can avoid finding a solution because… they believe it will damage them in the next elections.”

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis issued a terse response. “The intransigent and provocative comments by Mr Gruevski go beyond all reason,” she said. “It confirms the untenable position in which he has chosen to put himself.”

Gruevski went on to indicate that he had made it clear to Nimetz that FYROM is not willing to give up its constitutional name of “Republic of Macedonia” and is only willing to negotiate on a dual name that would be used only by Greece. Athens has already said it is opposed to this idea.

“I told Mr Nimetz that it would be best for him to think again and to press the other side over something that would be a compromise: a dual name,” said Gruevski. “One of the ideas Mr Nimetz expressed was the use of one name internationally. For us, this is not acceptable and that is where we left it.”

Greece vetoed FYROM’s bid to join NATO earlier this year and Bakoyannis pointed out that Gruevski’s stance was not helping his country’s cause. “He will be personally responsible for any complications in the negotiations and any consequences this has on the European and Euro-Atlantic course of his country.”

Struga Poetry Evenings Closes – Fatos Arapi’s Works Is Glow Amidst Glow

Fatos Arapi has impressed the Struga Poetry Evenings International Festival with dimensions of Albanian-Macedonian and Macedonian-Albanian spiritual homogeneity, Academician Gane Todorovski said inter alia in his oration dedicated to this year’s winner of Golden Wreath Fatos Arapi.
Arapi’s work, Todorovski continued, naturally elevates above times and the environment where he accomplishes himself and which he addresses. Fatos Arapi is an exemplary of a poet, a creative author whose authorial autonomy, expressed on the level and status of the most natural position, has enabled him poems and thoughts unburdened from any affiliation to aesthetic conventions and style actions. "A torch lit before dusk" is the final verse of his poem "I Am Too Modern." I will simply say, I was astonished, I was very pleasantly surprised when I read this verse. There, Arapi confesses why he is too modern. It is also said that “tragedy is a true homeland of poets” and that “I entered future tragedies of freedom long ago.”
…Because it is that glow, the midst of that glow that the wonders of a beautiful word are contained in nowadays. Fatos Arapi is here to illuminate completely our illuminated spaces and beautify this nice area,” Academician Todorovski concluded.

International Meetings of Literary Translators in Lesok

The 37th International Meetings of Literary Translators kicked off today in the Tetovo's nearby village of Lesok.

The event brought together about 50 participants from China, Russia, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Poland, Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia, Makfax's correspondent reported.

The two-day symposium began today with the debate on the subject "The approach of the literary translator toward the idioms in the source text".

Translations to several languages of the verses of Koco Racin's poems were read out in the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Macedonian poet.

The attendants of the International Meetings of Literary Translators laid flowers at the grave of Kiril Pejcinovic, the leader of the Macedonian national revival.

The long-standing financial problems of the Macedonian Translators Association resulted in reduced number of events at today's edition of the Meetings.

The International Meetings of Literary Translators is one of the most reputable manifestations in the country, held immediately after the Struga Poetry Nights, the laureates of which traditionally take part at the symposium.


The Macedonian authorities do not agree with a resolution for the name dispute that would require amendment of the Macedonian Constitution, Dnevnik reports. Macedonia demands that the language and nation be clearly defined, that is, that they be confirmed as Macedonian. The state refuses to accept a variant that would be based on the name that would be used in the international relations. These are the Macedonian state leadership’s key remarks to the ideas contained in UN mediator Matthew Nimetz’s last package and they were conveyed to the UN mediator in Skopje last week.

The daily has learned unofficially that none of the eight names in this package were discussed at last week’s talks. Four of these names are variants of Northern Macedonia, while the other four are variants of Upper Macedonia. The words “northern” and “upper”, as geographical terms, are put into brackets or after a dash.

Greece and Macedonia start post war

Post services in Macedonia and Greece have started a real war, Macedonian Sitel television reports. The two services have denied fulfilling the post services between each other. Athens has send the letters at which has been writ7tem Macedonia and Skopje has returned the letters with the explanation that there has been no country named FYROM.

Greece in Stern Reply to Macedonia PM

The Macedonian Premier’s bid to put back on the negotiating table the so-called double formula as the basis for solving the ‘name row’ with Greece has sparked a stern reply from Athens.

“I told Mr. (Matthew) Nimetz (the United Nations mediator in the dispute) that it would be best for him to think again and to press the other side over something that would be a compromise: a dual name,” Macedonia’s Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski told local media on Sunday while referring to the talks with the UN envoy he had last week.

The double formula envisages one name for Macedonia for international use and another for bilateral relations with Greece.

Gruevski told local media on Sunday that one of the ideas that Nimetz had expressed during his Thursday visit to Skopje “was the use of one name internationally. For us, this is not acceptable and that is where we left it.”

Gruevski is making a big mistake, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis told Greek media just a few hours later on Sunday.

“The responsibility for blocking the negotiations and the European and Euro-Atlantic path of his country will fall on Gruevski exclusively,” she said.

Bakoyannis also rebuffed Gruevski’s previous statement in which he accused Greece of a deliberate effort to stall the UN-sponsored name talks.

Meanwhile local media in Skopje cited an unnamed source from Macedonia’s presidential cabinet as saying that Gruevski’s latest statement caught the President Branko Crvenkovski by surprise.

“We are surprised to hear Gruevski talking about this. Macedonia officially deserted the double formula prior to the NATO summit in April and went there with the proposal ‘Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)’. Gruevski then gave consent to this,” the unnamed source from the presidential cabinet told local daily Dnevnik.

However, officially the president did not comment on the latest statement by Gruevski. In an interview for Balkan Insight in June, Macedonia’s President said his country would have to offer more than the use of the double formula if it is to reach a deal with Athens.

Greek -Macedonian relations hit a fresh low in April when Athens blocked Skopje’s invitation to join NATO arguing that Skopje’s name could lead it to make territorial claims on Greece’s own northern province which is also called Macedonia.

The latest statements came after Nimetz held talks with Macedonian and Greek representatives during his visit to both countries last week.

Greek media are reporting fresh UN-sponsored talks for early September and intensified pressure from the United States for a quick resolution to the 17 year-long dispute.

Double formula about the name is the only compromise fоr Macedonia

The double formula for the name has been the only compromise, which Macedonia can do in the name dispute with Greece, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said, Macedonian media reports. He said that this was the government’s position, which had been expressed before the international negotiator in the name dispute Mathew Nimitz at the meeting in Skopje on Thursday.
“We hadn’t reached an agreement and I had told Nimitz that it would be bet7ter for him to consider it one more time and to find a way to convinced the other site to point to thing, which contains a compromise and that is the double formula,” Gruevski said before journalists on Saturday, Makfax reports.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Macedonia rejects Nimitz’ latest proposal

The Macedonian PM Nikola Greuevski said that the latest proposal of the UN mediator in the naming dispute was unacceptable for Macedonia, B92 reports.
‘One of the ideas was to have a single name for international use. This is unacceptable for us. We agreed on certain issues, but this is something that we cannot accept and we said that there is no point of continuing the talks’, the PM said yesterday.

Recognition of Kosovo by Macedonia not far: DUI leader

The recognizing of Kosovo by Macedonia is a solved issue, the leader of the Democratic Union for Integration /DUI/ Ali Ahmeti said in an interview for the Macedonian TV channel Alsat-M.
According to Ahmeti the decision for the recognizing itself would come after three problem moments related to the demarcation with Kosovo were solved. He added that they were technical problems.

Turkish bank opens office in Tetovo, Macedonia

The Turkish bank Siraat officially opened today a branch office in the Macedonian town of Tetovo, MIA reports.
Currently there are 10 people working in the office and their number is expected to grow. The opening was attended by the Turkish Deputy PM Nazim Ekrem, the Turkish ambassador to Macedonia Hassan Okcal and representatives of the Macedonian government.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

100,000 Macedonians on vacation in Greece in August

Since the start of the year, the Macedonian-Greece border was crossed by over 500,000 Macedonian citizens. 100,000 of them went to Greece over the past twenty days, for summer vacations.

In July this number was 57,000, and in the first half the number was down by 18 percent compared with last year.

The price of an average summer apartment in Greece is EUR 30-50, while higher quality accommodation costs EUR 70 per night.

It is 18 percents less citizens than in the same period last year when a total of 947,000 Macedonian citizens passed the border.

According to Angel Ivanov, president of the Association of Travel Agencies of Skopje, main reason for this is the reduced prices for vacations in Greece in the postseason.

- It is obvious that our citizens would like to use the lower prices offered now. Following the emotional reaction during the preseason, the main motive for the people in this period is the economic bill – Ivanov explains.

These days, many travel agencies offer arrangements for vacation in Greece for the price of EUR 100 per 10 or 7 days with transport included.

According to travel agencies from Gevgelija, the available arrangements of their agencies in places Paralija, Nea Vrasna, Asprovalta, Olimpijada, Leptokaria are completely sold out for August and September.

Greece prevents Aegean Macedonians from entering Macedonia

The Greek border Authorites earlier today prevented a group of Greek citizens, ethnic Macedonians from entering Macedonia, local media reported.

According to Greek Border Authorities, their citizens were not allowed to enter Macedonia because they needed to obtain "new passports".

Unofficially, the Macedonians had been treathened by Greek Authorities to not visit Prilep where they were scheduled to take a part in a Football Tournament named "Roots, Juniors 2008".

The ethnic Macedonians showed up on the border wearing the traditional Macedonian red colors. Greece hasn't established a particular friendship with the red color ever since painting the British East India flag Blue.

"Obviously someone was bothered that they were Macedonians. They think if they stop them from coming to Macedonia, the Macedonians there will somehow forget about Macedonia", said Zoran Petrov, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Similar incident ocurred on the Bulgarian - Turkish border. Once the Bulgarian Authorities saw the large group were ethnic Macedonians from Turkey, they refused to issue them a transit visa, citing 'byrocratic problems'.

"We don't know the reasons why they were not issued transit visas, they waited for it until the last moment" said Boris Temoski, president of "We are Here".

"We will seek an explanation from Greece and Bulgaria why they were not allowed to enter or transit. It is common practice for Greece and Bulgaria to come up with an excuse that "the passports need to be new" or "they applied too late", we have heard this thing thousands of times. We are sick and tired of this." said Zoran Petrov.

Several hundred Macedonian junior football players gathered in Prilep, Macedonia, hailing from Serbia, Slovenia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia, Bulgaria.

All of the youths as well as Tournament Management weren't surprised that Macedonians from Greece didn't make it.

These incidents just confirm the inhumane treatment Macedonians get in Greece and Bulgaria.

Experts look back at Ohrid Accord

The Ohrid Framework Agreement, which came into force in 2001, brought peace, better co-operation among ethnic communities and more minority rights to Macedonia. Many experts believe that it is one of the most successful agreements in the region for forging a functional, multinational state.

Representatives of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE party never attended previous observances of the pact's anniversary organised by the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), an Albanian-minority party emerging from the National Liberation Army (NLA).

This year, though, the VMRO-DPMNE-led government held a ceremony on August 13th honouring the anniversary. Observers viewed this as progress resulting from the coalition between the VMRO-DPMNE and the DUI, something that was impossible until recently.

Statistics show great change since 2001. The percentage of civil servants belonging to ethnic minorities soared from 4% to almost 17%, though minority representation in government still lags compared to that in the general population. Ethnic Albanians alone account for 23% of the population, according to the 2002 census.

Change is visible everywhere. The Albanian flag flies legally outside multiethnic municipalities. In towns where minorities comprise 20% or more of the population, signs guiding traffic and identifying buildings are bilingual or trilingual.

However, experts consider the agreement's most important feat to be the prevention of a civil war. Even today, there are different names for what happened in Macedonia in 2001 -- a rebellion, a conflict or a limited-scale internal conflict.

Hailing the pact for bringing peace, James Pardew, a US mediator in Macedonia during the summer of 2001, told Skopje's Kanal 5 TV channel, "Had [the fighting] broken out into a full-scale war, it would have destroyed Macedonia as a country."

Others point to lingering political problems. One of the participants in the 2001 peace talks, law professor Ljubomir Frckovski at Skopje's University of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, says Skopje has yet to resolve the issue of the use of Albanian. Policymakers have decided to enact a law on use of the language, although the accord does not explicitly endorse that route.

Vlado Popovski, another law professor, said the agreement, while achieving many things, has yet to help internally displaced people. Those provisions remain unimplemented because of the potential for continued unrest in the Skopje-area village of Aracinovo and the Lipkovo region.

According to the government, there are 771 displaced ethnic Macedonians from villages in western Macedonia. They appealed to Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski because they did not feel safe in returning to their former homes even after seven years.