Thursday, March 25, 2010

Greece accepts Macedonian name proposal

Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas stated today in an interview with Greek Sky TV that the name of "Republic of North Macedonia" would be acceptable to Athens in regards to its name dispute with Skopje. Droutsas said that "UN mediator Matthew Nimetz presented the idea of the name 'Republic of North Macedonia.' 'The Greek position on the name issue is known; it wants a composite name with a geographic qualifier that is used in relations with all other states, so it is obvious that this idea meets Greek expectations.'" Athens insists that Macedonia's constitutional name of the "Republic of Macedonia" implies territorial aspirations towards its own northern province of the same name. NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Security, Cooperation, and Partnership Robert Simmons stated that Macedonia will be invited to join NATO as soon as the "name" issue is resolved.

Turkish FM Davutoglu pays two-day visit to Macedonia

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu pays March 25-26 a visit to Macedonia, upon an invitation by Macedonian counterpart Antonio Milososki.

In addition to talks with his host, Davutoglu is also scheduled to meet President Gjorge Ivanov, Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

Moreover, Davutoglu will meet representatives of the Parliament's Macedonia-Turkey Friendship Group.

Meetings will focus on series of significant issues regarding the enhancement of bilateral cooperation, countries' Euro-integration processes, as well as current regional developments.

The high guest will attend the formal opening of Turkey's Honorary Consulate in Ohrid, visit the memorial room of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Bitola, and the Sarena Dzamija (Painted Mosque) in Tetovo.

Davutoglu will also give a lecture on "Turkey's Foreign Policy and Balkans" at Skopje Faculty of Law and promote the Centre for Cultural Cooperation 'Yunus Emre', located at the Skopje-based Turkish Embassy.

Alexander the Great to Sing in the Centre of Macedonia’s Capital

The planned monument of Alexander the Great in the centre of Skopje will be accompanied by music, as well as light, sound and water effects, mayor of the Skopje municipality Centar, Vladimir Todorovic, announced recently.

The monument of Alexander the Great – the thorny figure in the side of Greek-Macedonian relations, will be created and installed in the centre of Skopje by the end of next year as part of the grandiose Skopje 2014 project, which envisions the construction and renovation of dozens of monuments and buildings in the capital’s downtown area, with the aim of enhancing its appeal and administrative functionality.

The Alexander the Great statue, together with the statues of eight lions, costs 4.5 million euro and the fountain – 3 million euro, Todorovic explained, cited by the Utrinski Vesnik newspaper. The publication commented that if the salaries of the commission members who selected the monument’s maker and her fees are included, its cost would reach 10 million euro.

This, according to the publication, automatically disproves previous reports that 10 million euro will be used for the construction not only of the Alexander the Great monument, but those of four lions, the horse-riding statues of nineteenth-century revolutionary figures Gotse Delchev and Dame Gruev and three more statues.

“Whether the monument is too expensive is a relative thing. I can only assure you that it will be very beautiful, which you will see at the end of next year when we expect it to be completed,” Todorovic said, cited by the publication.

“According to our recent information, more than half of it has already been moulded. The fountain, on the other hand, will be produced for nine months. There are already preparations on the ground for the construction activities. The fountain will have a beautiful marble massive staircase and a mini promenade around the pillar of the monument,” Todorovic added.

Although Skopje Mayor Koce Trajanovski claimed the Skopje 2014 project will cost 80 million euro – which will come from several annual state budgets, the municipal budgets of Skopje and Centar and private investors, the initiative has sparked debate between the government and the opposition Social Democrats, who find the project excessive and claim it will cost 200 million euro. Even though it is well received by most of the public, several NGOs allied with the opposition have attempted public protests, arguing the funds would be better spent on fighting poverty.

Financial minister criticized the opposition

The opposition should not show pusillanimity after the date shows Macedonia overcame recession, said Macedonian deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finances Zorna Stavreski, MacedonianUntrinski vesnik newspaper writes. Stavreski said that if the opposition is constructive it will greet the publication of the data of the state statistical institute.
In his words after the data showed respectively good economic results, the opposition should be constructive and greet this in the interest of the citizens.