Macedonia: Opposition Daily Criticizes Macedonian Premier's Foreign Policy Tactics

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue Jul 29 14:02:18 UTC 2008

Opposition Daily Criticizes Macedonian Premier's Foreign Policy Tactics
By: iStockAnalyst   Monday, July 28, 2008 9:58 AM

Text of report by Macedonian newspaper Utrinski Vesnik on 25 July

[Commentary by Erol Rizaov: "How Far Are The Prime Minister's Letters

I suggest that a special department be established, which would be in
charge of writing letters to politicians and statesmen in neighbouring
countries and worldwide, so that the world can learn about the
Macedonians' suffering and the injustice done to Macedonia over the
centuries. Encouraged by the great results and impact of the letters
to Karamanlis (and his response) and to the European Union, Gruevski
should write more similar letters to many leaders in the neighbourhood
and further abroad.

A series of letters should urgently be sent to Bulgarian Prime
Minister Sergey Stanishev and Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov.
Equally fervent letters should be sent to the Serbian leadership, to
President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic. Just in
case, a firm letter should be sent to Albanian Prime Minister Sali
Berisha and Turkish Prime Minister Tayip [Tayyip] Erdogan each. We
could also teach a historic lesson to French President Sarkozy,
British Prime Minister Brown, Chancellor Merckel [Merkel], and
finally, of course, to George W. Bush and to Putin and Medvedev. All
the issues concerning Macedonia should be raised at once - let us make
the world know about the continuing global conspiracy against us.

For now, Prime Minister Gruevski's letters are only met with support
in Macedonia and in the Macedonian media. Naturally, only negative
comments and reactions to the letters have come from the European
Union and Greece. We have had bad responses from some countries where
we have not sent letters at all, such as the United States, France,
and Germany. How do they dare respond negatively to us, when we
haven't even written to them? Ever since the Bucharest summit,
Macedonia has been losing the race with Greece for international
support quickly and dramatically. Our positions after Bucharest have
worsened badly. But, we are excelling on the home front.

We wrecked the Greeks by telling them that we were extremely concerned
about the rights of the Macedonian minority and the property of those
expelled during the civil war. This resulted in a storm of negative
reactions in Greece, which was of course, met with exaltation in
Macedonia. When the rights of the Macedonian minority in Greece will
indeed improve and when, if at all, the property will be returned are
less important details in Macedonia's policy. I suggest that Gruevski
should remove Sergey Stanishev and Georgi Purvanov's masks, writing to
tell them about their duplicity and Byzantine politics, because on one
hand, they pretend to be our friends, while on the other, they have
put major obstacles for us in Brussels.

Gruevski should openly tell Stanishev that the minority rights of the
Macedonians living in Bulgaria should be recognized. We should openly
tell Bulgaria that it has cunningly raised the language issue and that
it continues to adopt our history. Gruevski should bravely ask the
Bulgarians to pay damages for their crimes against Macedonians during
World War II. This will be a great shock for Bulgaria, an even greater
shock than the one we prompted in Greece.

As for the Serbian leaders, Tadic and Cvetkovic, we should fiercely
raise the issues concerning the recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox
Church, Prohor Pcinjski monastery, as well as other territorial
issues. We should point out to Sali Berisha that he should recognize
the rights of the Macedonians in Albania and curb his paternalism.
Kosovo's Hashim Thaci should be told that there will be no recognition
before the border has been delineated. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan
should be told that our expectations from Turkey were higher, whereby
Gruevski will skilfully explain to the latter that our claim over our
property in Greece and our refusal to grant the same rights to the
Turks and other people who used to live in Macedonia (whose property
was seized under the agricultural reform and nationalization) are two
different issues. We should write to German Chancellor Merckel to tell
her in no uncertain terms that Germany too has failed us by taking
Greece and Bulgaria's side. British Prime Minister Gordon also ought
to know that we are not pleased; we will tell him off for not being
interested in Macedonia in the least. As for Carla Bruni, we will tell
her that her beloved husband Sarkozy is a hated figure here for having
brazenly taken the Greeks' side because his grandfather was from
Thessaloniki. We could write to Bush, telling him that we suspect that
he has started to skive off and is no longer firmly backing Macedonia.
He is more concerned about his departure than about Macedonia. As for
Putin and Medvedev, Gruevski should be firm in telling them not to
overwhelm us with their brotherly love and pan-Slavic messages,
because we are less Slavs and more antic Macedonians. This will touch
a raw nerve. We prefer to be close with the Hunza, than with the
Russians, Polish, Ukranians, Czechs, Slovenes, Slovaks, Serbs, Croats,
Montenegrins, and Bulgarians. The latter are barbarians - we are
living ancients. After we have published all these letters at home, we
will be proud and feel like a weight off our chest has been lifted.

Nobody in Macedonia is interested in the final outcome of the prime
minister's correspondence. Who gives a damn that only quiet and
persistent diplomacy, which envisages numerous meetings, compromises,
tolerance, wisdom, knowledge, mediators, negotiations that take long
before they get to be made public, and agreements, tends to yield
results towards resolving major inter-state problems?

I do not know whether the alarm has been raised in the Foreign
Ministry, but it is really time for it if it is true that Panama is
the first country to have changed its mind regarding our
constitutional name's recognition. If the greatest achievement in the
battle for our name so far, namely, the fact that 120 countries have
recognized us under this name, starts to wane, then this will spell
the incumbent government's greatest defeat in the realm of global
bilateral relations. The recognition by 120 countries has been our
greatest diplomatic success, the credit for which goes to several
Macedonian governments and prominent people from Macedonia and the
world over. What do you think, is Panama to blame for this or we?
Perhaps Gruevski will send a ferocious letter to its President Martin
Torijos. He will be punished for this.

The theory that some people close to the ruling structure have been
promoting lately, namely, that we should not rush Euro- Atlantic
integration, is very wrong. Their logic is that we have been lagging
behind for years and that there is no reason why we should hurry now
and make unnecessary compromises. The fact that the race with Serbia
for joining the European Union is exceptionally important both for
Macedonia and for Croatia is not mentioned. If Macedonia joins the EU
before Serbia, it will be able to solve one of its greatest problems,
the recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. With this, the
problem that will emerge between Macedonia and Serbia over the
former's possible recognition of Kosovo soon will also be ticked off
the agenda. Serbia can only become a full- fledged EU member if it
resolves all the open issues with its neighbours, including Macedonia.
If Serbia and Albania join the EU before us, we will be forced to make
compromises that will be to our detriment. Alternatively, we will have
to bid farewell to our Euro- Atlantic integration.

Karadzic's arrest and his quick "packing up" for the Hague have
heralded Serbia's candidacy status, which the latter should receive by
the end of the year. By handing over Karadzic, followed by Mladic and
Hadzic, to the Hague Tribunal, Serbia will secure a start date for
negotiations. What are we going to do though?

We will continue writing letters.

P.S. I say to myself that it is a pity the Macedonian Interior
Ministry was not the one arresting Karadzic. That would have been a
thriller and spectacle that even Hollywood would envy. This way, we
did not see a single video of Karadzic's arrest. But we have had the
chance to see countless videos of Zaev's arrest. It is the Strumica
mayor's tough luck that he was not a convicted war criminal.

Originally published by Utrinski Vesnik, Skopje, in Macedonian 25 Jul 08, p10.

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