Speeches
PRM_Obrakjanje_Referendum
Address by the President of the Republic of Macedonia
Monday, 01 October 2018 15:26

Respected citizens of the Republic of Macedonia,

On yesterday's referendum, the people rejected the Prespa Agreement. By refusing to vote, the people clearly pleaded against hasty, imposed and harmful decisions adopted without a previously reached national consensus. The silent majority decided. The boycott is the voice of those who are underestimated and not heard.

The message from the people is sent to those who must hear it.

The reality is that the referendum did not succeed. Do not try to change this reality. Do not underestimate the sovereign will of the Macedonian people. We cannot talk about the will of the majority in conditions when the legal census on the referendum is not fulfilled. 36.9% turnout is not the will of the people, but 63.1% who did not go out.

No matter how much you try, you cannot change the reality. And the reality is that the referendum is unsuccessful. It is time for responsibility before the Macedonian people.

The support for the EU and NATO is collateral damage to the unpopular referendum. The support for the EU and NATO of over 80%, you reduced it to only 36.9%. You are also manipulating our citizens, and selling false ideas and perceptions to our European and Euro-Atlantic partners

A state is not led by a free and unauthorized interpretation of the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Macedonia. At the same time, I expect the OSCE/ODIHR Observation Mission to consider seriously the complaints about the irregularities at certain polling stations.

I advise those who interfere in the internal affairs of the Republic of Macedonia and unprincipled take sides to respect the international conventions on diplomatic relations. Those who have a democratic deficit cannot impose solutions contrary to the sovereign will of the Macedonian people.

Dear fellow citizens,

Just a couple of days ago, from the United Nations podium, the US President, Donald Trump, said that "freedom, peace and democracy are only possible in sovereign and independent states". Yesterday, the Macedonian people showed its sovereign will. Like the French President Macron, I believe in the strong identity of every nation, I believe in the history and ambition of our Macedonian people.

The referendum is not a poll. The decision of the citizens obliges. In a referendum, citizens directly exercise their sovereign power. The Assembly must respect that decision.

Therefore, I congratulate the Macedonian people, Albanians, Turks, Serbs, Roma, Bosniaks and Vlachs for their decision.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me turn to all the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia who came out yesterday and gave their vote in the referendum.

Only firmly united around our state interests, respecting the constitutional and legal order, we can walk along the path to the European and Euro-Atlantic family. We have no doubts that the place of the Republic of Macedonia is in the EU and NATO. But we need to enter there with our human dignity, without blackmail, pressure and double standards. Only in this way can we deal with the two big challenges:

The first challenge is serious and thorough reforms in all segments, because without real judicial reform, without justice and the rule of law, without the fight against corruption, without the fight against party elitism and clientelism, there is no membership in the Union and NATO.

The second challenge is to rebuild our national consensus so that we can act, in one voice and unity, in defending our state interests and achieving our strategic goals.

In the end, as President of the Republic of Macedonia, I would like to remind you that in almost all decisive moments of the history of Macedonia, the people made wise decisions. It is our responsibility to respect that decision. This should be a lesson for all political parties to be careful what they promise and to whom.

As a citizen, however, I expect the ruling majority to bear responsibility for the failed referendum. We all face defeats in our lives. Some of us more, some less. The size of a person is to recognize and accept the defeat.

Yesterday, the Republic of Macedonia remained undefeated.

Long live the Republic of Macedonia.

7
Speech by the President of the Republic of Macedonia, His Excellency, Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, delivered at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Thursday, 27 September 2018 14:25

Respected,

This year, we are celebrating 100 years since the end of the First World War. The League of Nations was supposed to safeguard peace. However, it failed. The United Nations rose from the ashes of the Second World War and were built over a world destroyed by fascism, Nazism, racism and colonialism. By adopting the United Nations Charter, a brave generation of leaders gave hope to the unprivileged, the oppressed, the denied, that they will be able to exercise their right to self-determination.

70 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights became another gleam of hope for humanity. This hope became more realistic through the work of the United Nations and its numerous programs. Through peacekeeping missions, arms control, non-proliferation treaties and the fight against terrorism and international organized crime we build a safer world. The Sustainable Development Goals help us focus our energy on reducing poverty, eradicating illnesses, spreading education, clean water and sanitation, and creating opportunities for the youth. With the Paris Agreement we fight climate change and try to build communities and nations resilient to disaster risks. As a result, millions of people today are living better lives then they did a decade ago. All these achievements would be unimaginable had we not united our efforts through the United Nations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As President of the Republic of Macedonia, I can righteously say that the Macedonian people participated in the creation of the post-World War II order. We were at the right side of history, because even back in 1941, we started fighting the evil that was fascism and Nazism.

The Macedonian state participated in the creation of the United Nations. In 1945, the Federative Democratic Yugoslavia was one of the founders of the United Nations. As a constitutive Republic with a right to self-determination to secession, Macedonia was a co-founder of the United Nations.

As a state within that federation, we participated in the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; in the international pacts on civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights that guarantee human dignity, the right to self-determination and the right to sovereign equality of states.

On September 8, 1991, making use of our sovereign right to self-determination and secession, in a peaceful way, we left the collapsing federation and we proclaimed an independent and sovereign Republic of Macedonia.

This is what the great injustice is all about. We were not allowed to enjoy the privileges of the organization and the documents in whose creation we once participated. We were denied the sovereign right to call ourselves by our name, as if an ordinary administrative region in Greece (bearing the same name) has a bigger right in international relations than a sovereign state such as the Republic of Macedonia.

25 years ago, on April 8, 1993, the Republic of Macedonia became a member of the United Nations. And yet, in this community of equals before the law, the Republic of Macedonia was admitted as less equal, with a derogated legal personality and a violated right to self-determination.

Today, 25 years later, the talks within the United Nations should end by the adoption of the so-called Prespa Final Agreement that according to some, should put an end to the name dispute with Greece and open the way to membership of the Republic of Macedonia in the European Union and NATO.

The Settlement begins with a grand preamble whose formulations would make even the authors of the Universal Declaration quite envious. Ironically, the Prespa Agreement violates the same universal principles and standards that it refers to in its preamble, including the right to human dignity. Out of all the rights that have been violated, I wish to draw your attention to one – namely, the right to self-determination.

The right of self-determination means that only the nation itself has the right to determine its destiny, that no one has the right forcibly to interfere in the life of the nation, to destroy its schools and other institutions, to violate its habits and customs, to repress its language, or curtail its rights. The right of self-determination means that a nation may arrange its life in the way it wishes. It has the right to arrange its life on the basis of autonomy. It has the right to complete secession. Nations are sovereign, and all nations have equal rights.

The right to self-determination is the source of the right of people to choose their own name and the name of the state they created. The right to choose a name is an inalienable part of the right to self-determination. Only by respecting the right to self-determination will the United Nations be relevant for all peoples. As a people, we have been bearing the name Macedonians for centuries, and as a state for 74 years – even before the existence of the United Nations. Our attachment to this name was confirmed when, 27 years ago, we used our right to self-determination and proclaimed an independent and sovereign Republic of Macedonia.

Still, with the Prespa Agreement, Greece is imposing a new name and is asking for an erga omnes implementation – both for international and domestic use. It is foreseen that we change our Constitution, whereby Greece would become the ultimate authority that would approve constitutional amendments. Through this settlement, Greece would be given a permanent monitoring over how we name ourselves, but also over how you, Member States of the United Nations, will address us. Greece will be authorized to rename our institutions, to censor the contents of schoolbooks for our children, to prevent citizens from expressing their Macedonian identity. This also regulates the appellation of our Macedonian language. A very important part of our way of life will depend on Greek will. It is a censorship of the world and an auto-censorship of the collective conscience of Macedonian people. It is violence against our historical memory. There are hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and testimonies in the UN archives, detailing what the Greek state used to do to Macedonians in Greece. Now, with the Prespa Agreement, the Greek state wants to do the same to the Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia. The aim is to limit the use of the name Macedonians to the smallest possible space – and that is the space between our two ears, all while keeping our mouth closed. It is a flagrant violation of the right to self-determination.

However, this Prespa Agreement is just a bitter fruit of a tree that has been poisoned a long time ago. It is a detrimental compromise based on the 1995 Interim Accord. At a time when we were internationally isolated, the Interim Accord achieved under the auspices of the United Nations was supposed to be a guarantee that Greece would not block our integration in international organizations. However, there is a serious problem in this sense as well. No one can transfer to another more rights than they have themselves. And yet, with Article 5 of the 1995 Interim Accord and under the UN-led process, Greece was allowed to negotiate with the Republic of Macedonia about its name. It is a violation of the right to self-determination.

The Interim Accord itself is not without its own roots. It stems from Resolutions 817 and 845 of the United Nations Security Council in 1993. Although it notes that the Republic of Macedonia fulfills the criteria for UN membership contained in article 4 of the Charter, the Security Council concludes nevertheless that there is a difference regarding the name of the state, conditioning the membership of the Republic of Macedonia with the acceptance of a provisional reference and an obligation to discuss about the name issue. That formulation is nothing else but a euphemism for violating the right to self – determination.

And thus we arrive at the root of the problem.

The right to self-determination was violated when the Republic of Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations. The Interim Accord and the Prespa Agreement have been adopted in order to justify that violation. You should know that the text of that so-called Prespa Agreement was prepared without my knowledge and without my consent as President of the Republic of Macedonia. Moreover, the Agreement violates a clause of our domestic law which is of fundamental importance.

Otherwise said, the knot that started entangling with Resolutions 817 and 845 and the Interim Accord, has now, with the Prespa Agreement, taken the shape of a hangman's noose. The Republic of Macedonia is now asked to commit a legal and historical suicide, so that the legal abolishment of Macedonian people could then be interpreted as its own will. I wonder what this says about global leadership and shared responsibility of the United Nations?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Greece insists on an erga omnes implementation of the imposed name, thus making the violation of the right to self-determination erga omnes as well. However, the International Court of Justice has stated in its judgment of June 30, 1995 that the right to self-determination has indeed an erga omnes effect. This very important decision was neglected in the preparation of the Interim Accord, three months later.

It is said that the Macedonian case is a unique one in the United Nations. However, the UN archives have registered an almost identical case in which a member state denies the right of membership to an applicant country because of its name. I say almost, because the request of that member state to block the entry of the other country was ignored by the United Nations. All of this happened after our precedent.

I am asking: Why is this not valid in the case of the Republic of Macedonia? Are all states not equally sovereign? Are the United Nations more relevant for some, and less relevant for other peoples?

Again, we see an unprincipled Athens victorious over a peace-loving Melos, showing that the stronger do what they can, and the weaker do what they must. The Prespa Agreement places us in a fait accompli situation, in which we are told – you are smaller, you are weaker, and therefore you must accept Athens' ultimatum. Instead of being rewarded, we have been punished for our peace-loving nature. It seems to be forgotten that the United Nations were created by visionaries who wanted an order in which even the smallest and the weakest of peoples would be protected. This because the respect of the rights of small peoples and states is a barometer for the observance of the international charter on human rights.

Aristotle claimed that whoever is not part of the polis is either a beast or a god. What the individual used to be to the ancient polis, is in a way, what the state is to the modern cosmopolis today. Greece is acting as if it is not bound by the rules of international order. With this attitude, I wonder in which category would Aristotle classify the cradle of democracy today.

If the United Nations are incapable of giving force to a righteous law, then they will only legitimate unrighteous force. And international order cannot be preserved by violating international law.

For a long time, we were persuaded that there is no other way. But through the fruits, we recognized the tree. Through this Prespa Agreement, we saw that we have been misled to search for a solution that would mean erosion of the right to self-determination.

How should we undo this complicated know, this noose placed around our neck? The unraveling should begin where everything else began – with the violation of the right to self-determination.

The Vienna Convention on Treaties states very clearly that every agreement contrary to the ius cogens standards is null and void. According to Article 1, Item 2 and Article 55 of the UN Charter, one of those ius cogens standards is the right to self-determination. Article 5 of the 1995 Interim Accord specifies negotiations on the right to self-determination, which makes it contrary to this ius cogens standard. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, means that the entire 1995 Interim Accord is null and void, and with it, the Prespa Agreement that stems from it.

No one has the right to bring into question the decision of the people to choose their name and the name of the country they created. It is a decision deriving from the right to self-determination established as an absolute right of all peoples.

Only the right to self-determination, and not its violation, can have an erga omnes effect.

Distinguished participants,

As I am speaking here, in my country, the Republic of Macedonia, they are counting the last hours before the referendum on which my fellow citizens have been asked to express themselves on the Prespa Agreement.

In these past few weeks, many high profile foreign representatives visited the Republic of Macedonia. I know that many of them sincerely wish to help the Republic of Macedonia become part of the European Union and NATO. And I thank them for their good intentions from the bottom of my heart. But I am afraid that they too have been misled. Their message is that if the referendum fails and the Prespa Agreement is not accepted, then we should not hope for membership in NATO and the European Union. And I ask them – if you take away our hope, what will we be left with? Help us by unblocking the process of EU and NATO membership of the Republic of Macedonia without violating the right to self-determination in the process.

Many of them have been persuading Macedonian citizens to accept the Greek proposal. I ask them, would they accept a derogation of the right to self-determination of their own peoples and countries? Would they accept interference in their internal affairs, a breach of sovereignty and political independence? Why are then we asked to accept something that no one else in the world would accept?

Do not try to persuade us to eat from this poisoned fruit. It is high time for this poisonous tree and its poisonous fruit to be rooted out.

Therefore, in these last hours before the referendum silence, I wish to convey a message to my fellow citizens in the Republic of Macedonia.

Voting on a referendum is your right, and not an obligation. In accordance with Article 7, Item 3 of the Referendum Law, 'no one shall be held responsible for voting or not voting in a referendum'. Every citizen has the right to decide how to act as regards this referendum – to go out and vote, or stay home and boycott.

Just as the referendum on September 8, 1991 led to sovereignty and independence, this referendum on September 30 may lead to a state of subordination and dependence towards another country.

If this referendum succeeds in accordance with law, then not only will the name of the existing country be changed, but a new, semi-sovereign country will be created, with a new name and a new internal and international legal identity. We will be a state only by name, but not in substance, because others will regulate our way of life.

However, if the referendum fails, a new possibility will arise. A possibility to discuss and explore new options for resolving the issue in accordance with international law, and by respecting our fundamental right to self-determination. To renew the national consensus that we achieved at the beginning of our independence.

It does not take courage to capitulate. It takes courage to persist in the realization of the right to self-determination and preserve the sovereignty and independence of a country. It takes courage to tell the truth.

This September 30th will be decisive for our future. But at the same time, for centuries in our tradition, September 30th has been the day when we celebrate Faith, Hope and Love which arise from Wisdom.

Do not lose the faith in yourselves, because the future of the Republic of Macedonia depends on you. Do not lose the hope and patriotic love for the Republic of Macedonia, because only as a sovereign and independent country it can be a guardian of your freedom and human dignity. As a citizen, I have made my decision. On September 30th, I will not go out to vote. I believe that you, my fellow citizens, will make a wise decision.

I also wish to address you, representatives of United Nations Member states. This irrational dispute has had detrimental consequences for the Republic of Macedonia and its citizens. Due to Greek blockades, we were denied the right to prosperity. Unfortunately, all of this has reflected on the sustainability of the Macedonian multiethnic, multireligious and multilingual society. A society which has actively contributed to peace, stability and security in the region and in Europe for the past 27 years.

The position of official Athens is not only contrary to international law and the decision of Macedonian citizens, it also goes against the will of almost 140 member states of the United Nations which have recognized the fundamental right to self-determination of the Republic of Macedonia and use its constitutional name.
As President of the Republic of Macedonia, I urge all states that already recognized the Republic of Macedonia and established diplomatic relations under its constitutional name, not to change their decisions. Demonstrate your sovereignty by remaining faithful to your principled decisions, made without any kind of pressure. Help us by being the guardians of our right to self-determination, thus safeguarding your right to self-determination.

Modern history has shown that the Balkans are the birthplace of precedents. If we are turned into detrimental precedents that limit our sovereignty and political independence, then it is only a question of time when those will be applied in some of your states. What does this say about the relevance of United Nations for all peoples, about leadership and shared responsibility?

I have always been an advocate and an active contributor to the building of a true and lasting partnership between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece, as well as friendship and trust between Macedonian and Greek societies. However, if the only way to accommodate the irrational demands of the Greek side is through imposed measures on the Macedonian side, what we get are relations without trust. This agreement does not bring Macedonian and Greek people together – it sets them apart.

Greek and Macedonian society should learn how to live together in spite of their deepest differences. In order to reach a real, sustainable and lasting agreement, we need dialogue instead of monologue, arguments instead of imposing by force, mutual respect instead of denial.

Only by supporting such a fair approach, the United Nations will be relevant in our case, and will demonstrate leadership and shared responsibility. The United Nations will only be relevant if they respect their own principles.

Dear friends,

Perhaps, even as I speak, there are statements being written condemning this speech. Most often, the first reaction to truth is hatred. Truth uncovers lies, it uncovers unfulfilled promises and guilty consciousness. And there is a lot of guilty consciousness involved in the Macedonian case. However, truth also liberates and allows for the acceptance of guilt, for correction of mistakes and healing of the wounds from the violation of our fundamental right to self-determination and human dignity. And the simple truth is that we are Macedonians and our country is the Republic of Macedonia. By respecting this simple truth for our identity, you respect our human dignity which is built in the foundations of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

Thank you.

1

4_gala
President Ivanov: I will not go out and vote on September 30
Sunday, 23 September 2018 08:02

Ladies and Gentlemen
Dear friends
Brothers and Sisters

Thank you for this prestigious recognition. I wish to thank the United Macedonian Diaspora for this magnificent gala dinner. I am truly proud to see you all here, united – united in your love for Macedonia. We have successfully survived all the challenges that our homeland has been through in the past. I do believe that together, we will overcome our current challenge.

As President, I have always been an advocate for reaching the strategic goals of the Republic of Macedonia. Membership in NATO and the European Union is our interest and our uniting strategic aim that we will persist on achieving.
However, there was a block o that path. We were denied the right to call us by our name. With that, we were imposed an irrational dispute lasting for almost three decades.

I have always been for a solution that will not touch upon the identity of the Macedonian people and will not be detrimental for Macedonian national interests; a solution that would not involve a change of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia in view of changing the constitutional name. At the same time, I believe that the solution should be based on a broad national consensus without destroying the state positions held thus far. Such solution should be confirmed by the citizens at a referendum.

Today, the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia are offered a solution on a referendum – a solution which goes against all state positions taken so far. It was not a result of a national consensus and was made without my knowledge or consent.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Everyone is wondering what will happen if the Prespa Final Settlement is not accepted. However, it is much more important to wonder about the consequences of accepting this Settlement.

I believe that the settlement if detrimental and fatal for the Republic of Macedonia. Accepting this settlement will have far-reaching consequences for the Macedonian state and the Macedonian people. This Greek settlement does not strengthen Macedonian identity, but it legally abolishes Macedonian people. It does not confirm, but change Macedonian state and institutional identity. It does not promote, but degrades our acquired rights.

Article 3 of the Settlement says that "each of the Parties obliges to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the other Party."
And yet, the very content of the Settlement denies the sovereignty and political independence of the Republic of Macedonia since it allows interference in its internal affairs. According to the settlement, the last word will be given to the Greek, and not Macedonian Members of Parliament. With this settlement, the Republic of Macedonia is brought to a subordinate and dependent position vis-à-vis the Hellenic Republic.

Greek membership in the EU and NATO has created an imbalance of power and conditions for Macedonia imposed by Greece. With this asymmetric settlement, the truth of the predominant party will become the predominant truth.
There will no longer be a Macedonian National Theater, Macedonian Radio Television, Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and not even a Macedonian Orthodox Church.

2_galaSuch an agreement does not unite Macedonian citizens – on the contrary, it adds to the polarization of Macedonian society. This agreement annuls the "social agreement' that we achieved when we declared our country independent and sovereign.

For almost three decades, Greece has been claiming that the Republic of Macedonia is an artificial creation. However, the truth is that the only artificial creation is in this agreement, and is not an expression of the will of Macedonian people and Macedonian citizens. This settlement creates a new entity, a new non-national state.

In simple terms, the consequences of this settlement can be summarized in one sentence. The same thing that the Greek state did to the Macedonians in Greece, it now wants to do to the Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia – to make them nameless, faceless and speechless.

I do not wish to be misinterpreted. I am all for partnership and friendship between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece, between Macedonian and Greek societies. However, in order to be sustainable, this partnership needs to be built on solid bases.

If the only way to satisfy the irrational demands of the Greek side is through imposed measures to the Macedonian side, then the result is relations without trust. This agreement does not bring Macedonian and Greek people together, it only sets them apart.

Both Greek and Macedonian society should learn how to live together in spite of the deepest differences that drive them apart. In order to have a real, sustainable and durable agreement, we need dialogue instead of monologue, argumentation instead of imposing things by force and trust instead of mistrust.
I know that you too, as Macedonian diaspora, are concerned about this situation, because the developments in our homeland inevitably reflect on the diaspora.

I am aware about this from the numerous letters from and meetings with the representatives of your organizations. Therefore, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for all the support and assistance you have been providing in these moments.

We must not forget that the Republic of Macedonia is not only a state of the Macedonian citizens living in it, but also a homeland to each and every one of you members of the Macedonian diaspora.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In these past few weeks, we have seen and almost daily arrival of high profile foreign representatives who have been persuading Macedonian citizens to show up at the referendum and accept the Greek settlement. However, it seems to go unnoticed that without real reforms, without fight against corruption, without fight against political party elitism and clientelism, there will be no EU and NATO membership. Even if this detrimental Greek agreement is accepted, even if the Macedonian Constitution is amended, EU and NATO membership will not follow by default.

Almost all of those foreign representatives whom I met asked me the same question: what is my position as regards the Settlement.
This was my answer.

In his address to Macedonian citizens back in 1991, on the eve of the referendum for independence, President Gligorov stated that the referendum should be a confirmation that the Macedonian people are a people with long history, awoken democratic awareness and that with that referendum, we should consciously and responsibly write the new page in the book of our own existence.

3galaUnlike that, 27 years later, the referendum on the Greek settlement deletes this privilege that the Macedonian people pronounced themselves about back in 1991.

I wish to remind Macedonian citizens that in article 7, item 3 of the Law on Referendums, 'no one can be held responsible for voting, or not voting at a referendum'. Every citizen has the right to decide how they will act as regards this referendum – whether they will come out and vote or stay home and boycott.

As for me personally, I already voted. I voted 27 years ago, on September 8, 1991. I was one of those who cast their vote in favor of constituting the Republic of Macedonia as a sovereign and independent state, with its own name and dignity. Therefore, I will not go out and vote on September 30.

I was given citizen support twice – not to allow a change of the Constitution for the purpose of changing the constitutional name and not to accept ideas and proposals that would jeopardize Macedonian national identity, the specificity of the Macedonian nation, Macedonian language and Macedonian model of coexistence. I will not give up on that promise. Therefore, I will not go out and vote on September 30.

When I took over the position of President of the Republic of Macedonia, I pledged to respect the Constitution and our laws. I will not give up on that pledge. Therefore, I will not go out and vote on September 30.

This settlement not only changes the name of our existing country, but it also creates a new, semi-sovereign state with a new name and a new internal and international legal identity.

In accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, sovereignty derives from the citizens and belongs to the citizens. Do not let that right be taken away from you; do not let anyone de-sovereignize you. Do not allow for someone else to control your conscience and your national pride.

The Republic of Macedonia belongs to the people who created it. And that people does not only have a historical right over its Republic – it also has a historical responsibility; this because no generation, including ours, can claim that everything begins with it. We are just a part of the continuum. It is our responsibility to safeguard and give to our descendants what we have inherited from our ancestors. Just as the Macedonian people are the creator of the Republic of Macedonia, in the same way, the Republic of Macedonia is the guardian of Macedonian identity. The question of the name and identity is older and more precious than any Constitution, any Government, any political party, any President and any individual interest.

Having all of this in mind, I have made my decision. I believe and I am convinced that the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia will make the right and wise decision on September 30.

And just like we are accountable before our citizens, we are also accountable before the diaspora, which has always been and will always be there for Macedonia in the most difficult of times. I believe you will take every opportunity to help in these challenging times, and that united, we will continue to work on our shared vision – to make the Republic of Macedonia a more just, safe and prosperous country.

Thank you. 

5gala

stipendi_shefild_24
Address at the awarding of the “Boris Trajkovski” scholarships for the academic 2018/2019
Friday, 14 September 2018 14:10

Respected Minister Ademi,
Dear Mr. Efstathiadis,
Distinguished "Boris Trajkovski" scholarship winners,
Ladies and gentlemen,

As President of the Republic of Macedonia and university professor, I am honored to be the patron of the awarding of the "Boris Trajkovski" scholarships once again. In the past nine years, at almost every meeting where the Macedonian-Greek relations were discussed, I pointed out to the joint scholarship project as an example of the good relations between the two societies.

Behind this project of trust stand people with open minds who are willing to build bridges of communication between the two societies in good faith. And they do this by investing in young people from the Republic of Macedonia.

Since the beginning of the project, a lot has been achieved. More than 200 students from 12 generations had the opportunity to study at the prestigious City College of Thessaloniki at the University of Sheffield. These are over 200 Macedonian scholarship holders who have acquired multiple acquaintances and friendships in Greece. Studying, they build personal relationships with their Greek peers with whom they communicate without the mediation of political elites and distorted media perceptions. Such projects create a new generation of young people, not burdened with prejudices from the past. Generations that will gain mutual trust through mutual respect and acceptance.

stipendi_shefild_5When talking about trust, we need to have one thing in mind - trust is not gained overnight, nor can it be enforced. It is created gradually, without pressure. It takes patience, truthfulness and respect for the other's personality. This is how confidence between peoples and nations is build, not by an asymmetrical intergovernmental agreement that denies our human dignity.

If the only way to meet the demands of official Athens is by imposed measures on the Macedonian side, what we get is a relationship without trust and social capital. There is a Macedonian wisdom that can be interpreted as follows: love cannot be imposed.

The Greek and Macedonian society should learn how to live together despite the deepest differences that separate them.

In order to have a genuine, lasting and sustainable agreement, we need a dialogue, rather than a monologue, a conviction with arguments, rather than forceful imposition, trust, rather than doubt. Trust is built precisely with such initiatives as the "Boris Trajkovski" scholarships.

Thank you.

ARM1
Marking the Day of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia
Friday, 17 August 2018 12:05

Respected members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia,
Distinguished attendees,
Dear fellow citizens,

It is my honor to greet you and congratulate you tomorrow's August 18th - the Day of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia.

When, in 2009, for the first time I was elected President of the Republic of Macedonia, I also assumed, with great respect, the duty of Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. I myself was a soldier and I know what hierarchy and discipline mean. I know that for you the uniform is more than clothes. It is also a symbol of honor, dignity and integrity. Not everyone has the courage to wear the uniform that implies great responsibility. Preserving freedom and peace is one of the most risky but also most noble tasks.

In the past years, the Army of the Republic of Macedonia fulfilled this great task. And it did it in conditions that year after year became more complicated and riskier.

The Army is a neutral guardian of the territorial integrity and independence of the Republic of Macedonia. It protects the border, the sovereignty, the security and unity of the Republic of Macedonia. But the Army is not limited to the exercise of its constitutional competences only.

Over the years, the Army assisted its citizens in dealing with natural disasters and remediation of the affected areas. It did it even at the price of performing the job in the competence of other institutions. Always and everywhere, the Army is ready to help its citizens, because it is their guardian.

Also, the Army has been continuously participating in peacekeeping missions worldwide. I had the opportunity to visit our soldiers in Kabul and Sarajevo. I can freely say that there are no better, more courageous and more virtuous soldiers than the Macedonian peacekeepers. My pride is to be your commander-in-chief. Often I say that with 27 rotations in ISAF, 16 rotations in "Resolute Support", 15 rotations in Iraq, 51 rotations in ALTHEA, 11 rotations in UNIFIL, our Army has become the most tested army in the history of the Alliance. And these are only part of the missions.

I must admit that as a Supreme Commander I was proud when I listened to the praising words for the Macedonian Army from foreign statesmen and generals.

The Macedonian contribution is not symbolic, but essential. Once we were the fourth contributor country per capita, sharing the vision of a free and democratic world. We had more troops in Afghanistan than 90% of the NATO member states.

Although the Republic of Macedonia is not yet in NATO, the Army of the Republic of Macedonia is de facto in NATO. Therefore, the Republic of Macedonia does not turn from the mapped Euro-Atlantic path.

Yet, the biggest challenge for our Army during my term was in 2015, the migrant crisis. In terms of deep political divisions, everyday protests and counter-protests, when many institutions were paralyzed and many processes blocked, there was a threat that the territory of the Republic of Macedonia would be flooded by the migrant wave.

The knowledge and skills, the overall human and technical potential of the Army were challenged. During the migrant crisis, the members of the Army achieved something that larger and better equipped armies failed to do. And your only motive was the desire to protect the homeland, without disturbing the human dignity of the refugees. While protecting the homeland, the Army of the Republic of Macedonia also protected Europe from the threat of illegal migration. Thanks to the Army, at least during that decisive period, the Republic of Macedonia was the most sovereign state in Europe.

The Army successfully and diligently faced all the challenges and fully justified my trust and the trust of the Macedonian citizens.
Therefore, I will repeat that it is an honor to be the Supreme Commander of the Army with an unbreakable spirit. And that should not surprise anyone.

It should not be forgotten that you are the heirs of the Macedonian fighters who were guided by pure motives and just goals. We have no dark spot in the history to be ashamed of and apologize for. The Macedonian fighters fought for freedom and human justice and have always been on the right side of history.
The Ilinden fighters fought against slavery and tyranny.
The partisans fought against fascism and Nazism.
You, the members of the modern Army of the Republic of Macedonia, are fighting against the threat of violent extremism and global terrorism. You fight for protection against the consequences of illegal migration.

ARM2Distinguished attendees,

There are two words that we in the Republic of Macedonia rarely hear because it is even harder to pronounce them. These are the words: thank you. Freedom, statehood, independence, the peaceful dream of our children seems to be taken for granted. We seem unaware that there is an entire army of people who have sworn to defend these hard-won values at the cost of their own lives. And it is precisely those people and that institution that deserve our appreciation more than many other. This is the Army of the Republic of Macedonia. These are its former and current soldiers, officers, generals and chiefs of General Staff.

And therefore, as President and as Supreme Commander, in the name of the Macedonian citizens, I thank the Army of the Republic of Macedonia.
I thank you for being the sovereign guarantor of territorial integrity and independence of the Republic of Macedonia.
I thank you for being the neutral guardian of our Macedonian model of coexistence and respect for diversity.
I thank the Army for being the pillar of freedom and security on which democracy and our lifestyle is based.
I thank the Army that is always trying to make that extra effort which many do not expect. And by doing so, it is a role model for our entire state and our whole society that everything is possible when it is desired.
And I thank the Army that has never left the people in the lurch. The Army of the Republic of Macedonia is always with the people, because it stems from the people.

But our gratitude should not be limited to words. Deeds are needed, especially today.
The end of the Cold War created an illusion that conflicts are almost unthinkable and armies are less necessary. Many have become prisoners of rhetoric that investing in defense is a cost rather than an investment. However, reality has a habit of disassembling the constructed illusions.

The territorial state faces new, non-territorial challenges. Modern technology, which is the source of our progress, is at the same time a source of different vectors of threats. In the past three years, we have seen only the beginning of a migrant crisis that we will face throughout our lifetimes. The threats from radicalized individuals and groups that are aimed at annulling our values and the way we want to live are increasing. There are talks again about border corrections in the Balkans, exchange of territories and populations. As if the lesson is forgotten that any plan for correction of borders in the Balkans creates a negative chain reaction. The precedents in the Balkans are used and will be used for other purposes in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Middle East, North Africa. These are serious challenges that require serious investment.

To this end, investing in defense is a priority that the government must follow. NATO recommended 2% of GDP. Due to the changed security environment, the policy makers must invest in defense, especially in several domains.

First, it is necessary to invest in education, exercises and training. Freedom is not conquered once and for all but every day and constantly. It is similar with combat readiness. It must be constantly renewed. We cannot afford the luxury of living the old glory. We established the Military Academy "Mihajlo Apostolski" on the principles of NATO's smart defense. It educates NATO and Partnership for Peace cadets. But it takes a lot more so that our soldiers can effectively fulfill their constitutional duties and make a greater contribution to the creation of world peace.

Second, it is necessary to invest in modern technology. The new hybrid threats are dangerous and have an asymmetric effect which, if not understood and prevented properly, creates serious consequences that have a cascade effect. Not accidentally, last year I pointed out that the ARM must build a system of prevention and protection of critical infrastructure. Priority is development of cyber defense and electronic warfare in a future non-linear war. In this cyber-era, the Army should defend the Macedonian cyber space.

But all trainings of the world and all modern equipment and sophisticated technology are truly beneficial only under one condition – if entrusted to people with sense of morality and dignity at the highest level; To people who guard the raised Macedonian flag of freedom with love. The main, basic resource of our Army is neither weapons nor equipment, trainings and lectures, but you, the soldiers, officers, civilians employed in the defense. You are people of blood and flesh who have your own families, neighbors, friends. Through you, the Army raises the moral of the society and encourages citizens. Each one of you depicts the situation in which the Army is.

Therefore, third and foremost, it is necessary to invest in raising the living standard of the members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia. Only this will improve their moral, because the greatest role in defense in such complex conditions is human staff. The moral of the soldiers is built and maintained through the improvement of the living standards, by taking care of the families of the members, but also by respecting the lasting attributes and values of the Republic of Macedonia.

The Macedonian soldier is modest, grateful and content with little. But exactly that is its size, and that is why it obliges us to take care even more, because we care about the soldiers, we take care of the army. And taking care of the army, we take care of the Republic of Macedonia.

Hence, as President of the Republic of Macedonia, I constantly insist on increasing the funds for the Army in order to be ready for the challenges. No army is better than its soldiers, its officers and NCOs.

We have to invest in the army. It is a task for policy-makers as well as for military leaders.

Military leadership should be immune to party and political pressures. Anyone who wants to be a military leader should be aware that he is embarking on a patchy road full of many challenges. Leadership and authority are not imposed but are deserved. Leadership and authority are built through day-to-day decisions in the field and in real situations, in the presence of subordinate soldiers and officers. Military leaders must focus on the professional and living standards of their soldiers and ask for adaptation to defend the new challenges.

This is especially important today. The rapid development of the challenges and changes in our immediate security environment requires a different type of thinking, unconventional action, innovations and technologies, and above all, courage in decision-making.

Leaders must understand cultural differences and the importance of respecting them for the success of the mission. All this along with the effect of modern technologies on the battlefield dictate the need to invest in building strategic leaders at a tactical level.

Therefore, I call upon you, Macedonian warriors, to maintain the level, to preserve the impartiality, professionalism and dedication, to continue to perform this constitutional duty with dignity.

I call upon you, the military leaders to continue your improvement, to take good care of the soldiers and to be watchful for the changes in the security environment.

Only by doing this the Army will continue to be the main driving force in the realization of the strategic goals, so that we could celebrate this great day – the Day of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia as a full-fledged member of NATO..

Having said this, at the very end, I congratulate you and thank you for your professionalism and for the discipline in carrying out the responsible task. I congratulate you and thank you for your solidarity with the citizens and the unreserved loyalty to the homeland.

Many happy returns to the Army holiday!
Long live the Army of the Republic of Macedonia!
Long live the Republic of Macedonia!

ARM3

ILINDEN_1
Address by the President of the Republic of Macedonia, HE Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, on the occasion of August 2nd – Ilinden
Thursday, 02 August 2018 14:28

Distinguished citizens of the Republic of Macedonia,

This year, on Ilinden, we are marking 115 years since the glorious Krushevo Republic, 74 years of the state-establishing ASNOM and 27 years of independence of the Republic of Macedonia.

The Republic of Macedonia is a product of an irreversible historical process that started in the spring of European peoples, in the first half of the 19th century. However, that spring was different for the Macedonian people. While neighboring Balkan peoples built their independent states through monarchies, Macedonian people chose the path of the republic. Unlike those who called for protection and representation by foreign dynasties, Macedonian people produced their own protectors, representatives and heroes who fought for the common good – the res publica.

Led by that ideal, on the day of Ilinden in 1903, right here in Krushevo, they established the first Macedonian Republic – the Krushevo Republic. It was at the same time the first democratic republic in the Balkans that relied on the ideals of freedom from tyranny, equality before the law and brotherhood of people in Macedonia.

Although short-lived, the Krushevo Republic was a ray of light in the long and dark Macedonian night. Although that light of freedom lasted for just one moment, people no longer wished to go back to the darkness of slavery and tyranny. The freedom of the Republic became its lasting driving force.

All the world media wrote about Ilinden and the famous Krushevo. The testimony of that dream quickly got noticed in the worlds' metropolises, from New York, Moscow, Tokyo, Vienna, Berlin, London, Paris, and even the countries of Latin America.

In 1924, reflecting on those fateful events, Dimo Hadzi Dimov foresaw that "a people that could raise an uprising such as Ilinden and survive a whole series of difficult and bitter disappointments after that, and is not desperate, but rises to fight again – that people will never die, but will live to see the triumph of its ideal. It is only necessary not to close their eyes to the conditions of their past development and the development of their struggle for liberation in future."

Only 20 years later, a young generation led by Kuzman Josifovski – Pitu recognized those conditions and took upon them a historic responsibility to lead the people in an organized and decisive fight for political freedom and social justice. And again, the idea leading that glorious generation was Macedonian republicanism. Theferore, coming out as victorious from the fight against fascism and Nazism in World War II, on Ilinden 1944, the Macedonian people established their second Macedonian Republic – the ASNOM Republic of Macedonia.

Faithful to the Republican ideal, on September 8, 1991, the Macedonian people proclaimed their third independent Republic of Macedonia. For the third time, the people took responsibility for their own present and future, not relying on anyone but themselves.

ILINDEN_3Dear fellow citizens,

In order to understand the historic responsibility of people towards their Republic, it is necessary to go back to the source, where water is the purest.

In 1919, Macedonian students in Sofia asked Gjorche Petrov to deliver a speech at the tomb of Goce Delchev. They had probably expected to hear the already well known narrative that Goce Delchev was the alpha and omega of revolutionary Macedonia. However, Gjorche told them something else. Goce believed that it was not strong individuals, but the organized power of people who should bear the burden of the fight on their shoulders. Delchev's generation installed in people the belief in their own power, because slavery ends only when a slave ceases to feel enslaved in their soul. Gjorce told them that the Macedonian struggle for freedom is a historical necessity that is not due to individual efforts only, but rather to the collective will of the people in Macedonia. He was convinced that "the idea of an independent Macedonia is a direct aim of its population" and of its Macedonian people.

This aim for an independent Macedonia first saw light on our first Ilinden, in the form of our first Republic – the Krushevo Republic, established in the name of justice, freedom and humane life of its citizens.

And that noble aim continued to develop through our second Ilinden, in our second, ASNOM Republic of Macedonia that became a symbol of freedom and an expression of sovereignty of the Macedonian people.

Finally, that aim was reached with our third Ilinden, when, on September 8, 1991, the sovereign will of the Macedonian people gave birth to the sovereign Macedonian state.

The thread that connects our three Macedonian republics is the sovereign will of the Macedonian people. That sovereign, general will of the Macedonian people has always been expressed in the shape of common good – the republic.

Dear fellow citizens,

The Macedonian people have always loved their republics – nostalgically reminiscing about the previous, and filled with hope, expecting the next one. This was because only in a Republic that belongs to them, that is an expression of their will and their aims, could the people feel at home.

And this should be of no surprise, because the highest aim of a people is to establish their own state. Only those peoples who have established their own states have realized their freedom in becoming self-sufficient.
However, the Macedonian people did not desire for just any state – they wanted the most fair, free and progressive one. They wanted their Republic, because it was their only protection against inhumane despotism, tyranny and autocracy. The Macedonian people considered the Republic to be the highest ideal of all freedom-loving peoples. A Republic that protects the common good; and the common good is the work of the people – hence the essence of the concept res publica, res populi.

The Republic belongs to the people because it both produces and benefits from sovereignty.
The Republic of Macedonia is not private property, with its attributes and values to be traded with by some.
The Republic of Macedonia is not personal property to be sold.
The Republic of Macedonia is not a no man's land that anyone can claim.
The Republic of Macedonia belongs to the people who have created it.

And that people, apart from having a historical right to their Republic, also has a historical responsibility towards that same Republic. For, no generation, including ours, can claim that with it begins everything. The nation, the state, the Republic, have been created and built by many generations. For some of them, it was an idea that warmed their soul, and others fought and were victorious in the realization of that idea. Others worked on its development and upgrade. All of those generations have been enshrined in our only homeland, the Republic of Macedonia.

What else could the Macedonian tradition be seen as, if not democracy stretched in time – a democracy that hears the voice of our ancestors as well - those from the Rebirth and those from Ilinden times; antifascists and ASNOM participants; founders of sovereign and independent Republic of Macedonia.

And yet why, instead of just one, did we have three republics? Why did we lose our republics and then create them again? I believe that the reason behind it is a lesson that we failed to learn, and is repeating itself time and again.

In 1903, a decision was made to start the Ilinden uprising. Goce Delchev, Gjorche Petrov, Dimo Hadzi Dimov and other freedom loving revolutionaries were decisively opposed to the rushed decision for raising the uprising too early, stating that the people were not ready yet. However, instead of taking their advice, they were ignored and bypassed. A short while later, Krushevo was destroyed and the uprising was suffocated. What followed was a new, more difficult slavery and tyranny.

In 1945, immediately after the first session of ASNOM, there were attempts to make certain decisions about us, without us. Chento, Brashnarov, Chuchkov, Shatev, Polezhinovski, Vlahov and many other patriots were against the singlemindedness of the Communist party, because they firmly believed that we can make it on our own. And yet, instead of being heard, their voices were silenced.

In 1998, one of the previous governments of the Republic of Macedonia made a decision to recognize Taiwan, in spite of the opposition by the President of the Republic. In a situation when all mechanisms of the system were put aside, President Gligorov reminded that the laws of the Republic are written in order to be respected; that institutions were created in order to cooperate, but also to exercise mutual control and not allow for mistakes to happen. Through the rule of law, the Republic has established legal mechanisms to realize the very essence of its existence – and that is to take care of the common good of the citizens. However, instead of listening to his advice, Gligorov was ignored and bypassed. In the same way that today, 20 years later, this Government is trying to bypass me.

If the Taiwan recognition agreement was a result of the love of money, the settlement with Greece is a result of the love of fame. Blinded by the stage lights, it seems that some of our politicians care more about their personal fame than about the dignity and fate of an entire people.

If the Taiwan Agreement was an attempt to redefine the position of the Republic of Macedonia at the international level, the settlement with Greece redefines our state itself.

ILINDE_2Dear fellow citizens,

We discuss the rule of law, and at the same time, we see legal violence happening. "Violence – said Solzenitzin, cannot be covered but by lies, and lies cannot rely upon anything else but violence. When someone proclaims violence as their method, they must inevitably choose lies as their principle."

It is a lie that this Greek agreement will change only the name of our country. On the contrary, it will change the Macedonian state and institutional identity.

It is a lie that this Greek agreement does not violate the 74 years of right to self-determination and statehood of Macedonian people. On the contrary – this Greek agreement deletes the state and legal continuity of the ideal of the Macedonian people to have their own state. It also erases the 27 year long history of the independent Macedonian state.

It is a lie that this Greek agreement will guarantee our membership in the EU and NATO. Without real reforms, without fight against corruption, without suppressing party elitism and clientelism, there will be no membership in the EU and NATO. Even if the detrimental Greek agreement is accepted, even if the Macedonian Constitution is amended, EU and NATO membership will not follow by default. By accepting this agreement, we are cutting the branch we sit upon only because someone is trying to convince us that we will grow wings to fly in the meantime.

It is a lie that with this agreement, we would finally become an equal entity through being recognized by Greece. On the contrary – not only are our acquired rights in the United Nations degraded, but the settlement even puts the Republic of Macedonia in a subordinate and dependent position vis-à-vis the Hellenic Republic; Because with this agreement, Greece will acquire the right to interfere in the common good of our Republic.

Finally, it is a lie that this Greek agreement will strengthen Macedonian identity. On the contrary, this Greek agreement legally abolishes the Macedonian people.

There were many attempts by others to impose some foreign identity upon us, and they failed, because our existence has never depended on them, but on us.
Therefore now, they are convincing us to abolish ourselves. Now, they are trying to convince the Macedonian people to commit legal and historical suicide – because, the sovereign Macedonian Republic stems from the sovereign will of the Macedonian people.
Without the Macedonian people, the common good will become no one's good, susceptible to be taken away by anyone and everyone.
Without the Macedonian people, the Macedonian Republic will become no man's land.
Without Macedonian people, there will be no Macedonian Republic.

In return for this, we have been promised prosperity, but for the price of our identity. And I wonder what kind of prosperity that would be without identity, without the freedom to call ourselves by our own name?

The blame for such a situation cannot be put on our southern neighbor, or on our European and Euro-Atlantic partners; because neither the irrational paranoia of the first nor the cold pragmatism of the latter can change us.

Who is to blame then?

Knowing the nature of the seed, 115 years ago, Misirkov knew what the fruit would be. Almost prophetically, he warned us of this fatal Macedonian feature saying: "The events thus far have shown us how much harm we are able to do to ourselves, by thinking that we are doing the right thing."

This is also why the author of the last Macedonian Manifesto, the one that we heard moments before, gives a direct answer to the question of who is erasing our past in order to take away our future, by saying "Never try to look for the blame in others than ourselves."

Therefore, that lesson that keeps repeating because we never learn is the following: the biggest national disasters happened to Macedonia whenever the general will was bypassed and whenever national consensus was abandoned.

ILINDEN_5The Republic exists in order to protect the common good from anyone who might wish to acquire it as their own. The sense of Republican mechanisms is to prevent abuse of power for narrow personal and political party interests. Every time those narrow personal and political party interests take the place of the lasting interests of the Republic, things ended in a national disaster.

Dear fellow citizens,

The best indicator of the values of a nation is consensus about what is not on sale.

"Our name is great, they will wish to take it from us", warned Blaze Koneski. And with this detrimental Greek agreement, is it not that we are giving them our name voluntarily, ourselves? The question of name and identity is older than any Constitution, Government, political party or President. It is even older than the state. No individual from any generation has been given the right to trade with that name and identity.

Therefore I do not accept the Greek agreement that is detrimental to the Macedonian identity and goes against the interests of the Republic of Macedonia. I will not be shaken by various attempts for pressure. I remain consistent to my principled position thus far.

At the same time, I call for a stop to the abuse of the realization of our strategic goals and commitments. The European Union and NATO must not become an alibi for a bad agreement that will provoke far-reaching and harmful consequences on the state and national interests of the Republic of Macedonia.

Distinguished Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Serbs, Vlachs, Bosniacs, Roma, Distinguished Christians, Muslims, Jews and Atheists,

One of the pillars of the Macedonian Republic is also the Macedonian language. The Republic of Macedonia enables every community to use its own language in all spheres and at all levels in accordance with the Constitution.

The Republic of Macedonia is the common homeland of all its citizens. We are proud to celebrate 68 years of Albanian and Turkish theater in the Republic of Macedonia. We have a rich series of publications in Albanian, Turkish, Serbian, Vlach, Roma and Bosnian language. Is there another Balkan country that can boast such a long tradition of mutual respect that many European countries can be envious of?

However, this unity in diversity is possible thanks to the Macedonian language and its irreplaceable role of an official language of the country; a fundamental communication code and cohesive factor that connect all segments of Macedonian multiethnic, multireligious and multilingual society.
The Macedonian language is a lingua franca thanks to which any member of an ethnic community can communicate with members of other ethnic communities. This is part of our social agreement. Our strength lies in our diversity, and our diversity is guaranteed with our unity. An authentic expression of that unity is our Macedonian language.

Dear fellow citizens,

So far we spoke about the benefits of the Republic. But what is left of all that? What would our Renaissance authors and revolutionaries say about the legacy they left to us?

Have you ever wondered what Karev would say about the situation in our Republic? Will we also change the name of the Makedonium where he was laid to rest?

What would Goce Delchev, Dame Gruev and Gjorche Petrov say about the ideal of the revolution? Were their efforts to restore the faith in our own strength in vain?

What would Dimo Hadzi Dimov say – the one who encouraged us to go towards new and glorious Ilindens that will upgrade Macedonian freedom, statehood and independence? Have we preserved those privileges?

What would Prlichev say – the one who left us the triple oath to know ourselves, respect ourselves and take care of ourselves by taking care of our fatherland?

Have you ever wondered what Misirkov would say – the one who raised Macedonian language as the fundamental feature of the Macedonian people and an irrefutable fact of our independence?

What would Koneski say? The one who concluded that "to us, more than to anyone else in the world, the language, together with everything created with it, both oral and written, represents the closest approximation to an ideal homeland. Macedonian language is actually our only complete homeland." What would he say about the "false prophets" who are destroying this ideal homeland of ours?

What would Racin say about the "dark dawns" looming?

What would Vapcarov say – the one who taught us how to self-consciously love our homeland, without protectorates?

What would Gane Todorovski say – the one who, in similar times, once asked "will we still be here when we are gone – if we are gone when we need to be here?"

What would Kuzman Josifovski – Pitu and the ASNOM participants say – those whose deeds and words we are now renouncing and whose Manifesto, as I heard, we will now censor?

What would Chento say – the first President of the second ASNOM Republic of Macedonia that he left to us to cherish like the apple of our eye?

What would Boris Trajkovski say, who right here, at this very place, on the 100th anniversary of Ilinden, emphasized that we cannot join Europe without identity and dignity?
And finally, what would Kiro Gligorov say – the one who reminded us that our independent Macedonian Republic is the most precious thing we have, because Macedonia is all we have?

ILINDEN_4This year, the world will celebrate 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Ilinden and ASNOM participants and all of us as citizens of our common home – Europe, we all fought for the rights stated in that Universal Declaration. As a constitutive part of the Yugoslav Federation, the Republic of Macedonia participated in the creation of that Universal Declaration. Will we today delete ourselves from the trends of world history?

Dear fellow citizens,

Today, in this new world, the Republic is not only here and now. The Republic reaches as far as the light of the Ilinden torch - from the Krushevo Republic, through ASNOM and up to our independent Republic of Macedonia. That republic lives in the hearts of every honest Macedonian man and woman, and every Macedonian citizen wherever they might be.

This is why Ilinden is the day that brings the light that clears the way, but also lightning that warns. It warns us that in order to live a life in light, sacrifice is necessary.

As the Ilinden fighters paved the way for the partizans with their self-sacrifice, and as the partizans opened the way for our generation in the Republic of Macedonia with their self-sacrifice – in the same way, our sacrifice might at one point be necessary in order for the spirit of the Republic to persist.

To be Macedonian is not only a right. It is also an obligation. It is an obligation to preserve the heritage that our ancestors fought for with defiance and resistance. It is an obligation to preserve the continuity of our determination, because as Macedonians we cannot be different than our ancestors. Let us not deprive our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of what our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers left us. We are reminded of this in our manifestoes as an expression of our general will and national consensus.

Today, that consensus is unambiguous. Macedonian citizens are united around the ides of membership of the Republic of Macedonia in the European Union and NATO. But we want to get there with our name, our identity, our dignity and honor. Therefore, no politician has a mandate to trade with the identity of the Macedonian people.

As President of the Republic of Macedonia, I am only the voice of the people. Your demands are my demands, your expectations are my expectations, your decisions are my decisions.

You have the legitimate right to take care of and safeguard your Republic. The future of your, of our Republic of Macedonia is built by you with every position you take regarding any issue related to the Republic.

History will judge about who has followed the path and respected the oath, never renouncing the light of Ilinden – a light that many tried to dim in order to prevent it from reaching future generations.

Great necessities produce great hopes. Today, more than ever before, the destiny of the independent Republic of Macedonia is in the hands of Macedonians themselves and their historic obligation. I believe that our people are mature and wise enough to choose their own destiny and defend their Republic. This because it is up to the citizens to take care of the Republic they created. They created it, and reached out for coexistence to their fellow citizens for all time, who, although speaking different languages and have different names, are still the sons and daughters of our one and common independent Republic of Macedonia – because Macedonian republicanism excludes any chauvinism.

Therefore let us love, respect and cherish our independent Republic of Macedonia, and it will protect us from the storms of the present. There is nothing worthier than that.

Long live Ilinden!
Long live our freedom, independence and sovereignty!
Long live the Republic of Macedonia!

ILINDEN_6

 
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