Address by the President Ivanov on the occasion of August 18 - Army Day
Friday, 18 August 2017 19:25

Distinguished members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia,

Distinguished attendees,

Fellow citizens,

It is an honor to welcome you and wish you many happy returns of this day - August 18, Day of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia.

Today, as we celebrate this important date – 25 years since the establishment of the Army, we remind ourselves of the past, but we also look at the future.

We all remember very well that the Army was established in turbulent times, in a very short period of time and with scarce equipment, but with much love for our homeland.

We remember the first Macedonian soldiers who raised the flag of the Republic of Macedonia at the "Ramna Niva" watchtower.

We remember the first recruits who pledged their first solemn oath in the "Ilinden" army barracks. Even back then, there were great expectations from our Army.  In those dramatic times when we could clearly hear the sound of weapons in the Balkans, when we were still denied and blackmailed, the first President of the Republic of Macedonia Kiro Gligorov underlined that the Army should serve to protect the borders, territorial integrity and sovereignty of our young independent state.  With that, a quarter century ago, he traced the fundamental tasks of our Army.

In these past 25 years, the capacities of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia have been checked many times.

In the dawn of our independence, the Army was a strong argument against all those who doubted our capability to survive as a sovereign country.

Walking down our Euro-Atlantic road, with a total of 27 rotations in ISAF, 6 rotations in "Resolute support", 22 rotations in ALTEA and 10 rotations in UNIFIL, our Army has become the most verified army in the history of the Alliance.

During the first migrant wave, the Army protected not only Macedonia, but also Europe against the threat of illegal migration.

In these past 25 years, the Army strengthened our national security as well.  A security that is so necessary for democracy and economy, but also for the Macedonian model of coexistence and respect of diversity.

Today, on the 25th anniversary since the establishment of the Army, expressed our gratitude, in the form of a Medal for Military Merits, to three units which proved themselves as true ambassadors of both the Army and the Republic of Macedonia through their achievements.

The first one is the Training and Doctrine Command Unit.  This command unit is to be credited for the high level training of the members of the Army as the foundation of military readiness of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia.  Many generations of senior officers and soldiers were built thanks to this command unit.

Here we must also mention the Fourth Mechanized Infantry Batallion.  Back in 2014, this battalion received the highest assessment in the EU Battle Group.  Last year, in 2016, part of this batallion participated in the biggest NATO-led military exercise in Eastern Europe - Anaconda.  The battalion achieved highest results at this year's exercises: Platinum Wolf and Platinum Lion.  This battalion is also most actively involved in handling the forest fires throughout Macedonia.

Among us, we also have members of the battalion that is present at every solemn occasion in our country.  Its members participate in welcoming high level foreign state delegations, in raising the Macedonian flag on its pole, but also in the conscience of Macedonian citizens.  This battalion that makes the Army more popular is also an immediate support to the Supreme Commander.  Therefore, on this 25th anniversary of our Army, we also pay tribute to the Honrary Batallion with a Medal for Military Merits.

Owing to this dedication, our Army has become a synonym for patriotism, loyalty and discipline.

However, today I will not speak about what the Army has done in the past.   I will not speak about what the Army is currently doing either.  Instead, I will say a few words about what the Army should be doing in the future.

Den_na_ARM_02Distinguished attendees,

The Army, but also all other stakeholders in the defense system should adapt to the new threats and new reality.

The defense strategy that should be adopted by the end of this year should define the setting of the defense system in conditions of prevention, handling threats and eliminating the consequences caused by natural disasters and pollution.

Defense planning does not only encompass the armed forces, but also the participation of citizens, state bodies, civil society and media. This because it is our shared responsibility to take care of the Republic of Macedonia.

Defense planning also implies purchase, development and production of defense capacitiy technologies.  We have the resources and capacities, but they remain unused just because they are not part of a network. We need to finally learn how to use the domestic capacities of scientific and research institutes and entities working in the area of automatics, robotics and IT communications.  We need to use these capacities for maintenance of drones, production of protection equipment for our soldiers and protection of vehicles and ammunition.  We must invest in technology because we will be unable to handle unconventional threats using conventional means.

More than ever before, Macedonia needs a military – civil cooperation.  This cooperation is much needed for the unity among the Army, state bodies, citizens and local self – government in their response to threats, disasters and pollution that we are facing.

The Army must transform itself and be adequately deployed in the 8 planning regions in order to respond to its basic mission and future tasks: Firstly, monitoring of areas affected by crises, disasters and pollution.  Secondly, achieving prevention through Army presence.

Dear fellow citizens,

All of this is necessary because the operational environment is changing.  We will be increasingly dealing with the climate extremes of Nature and the violent extremism of man.

Due to global climate change, we will be more frequently exposed to extreme weather conditions.  Last year we faced floods.  This year, we see ravaging forest fires.  Many of these challenges could have been prevented and adequately addressed.  However, this did not happen because the circle of responsibility is not closed.

Due to globalization of violent extremism and radicalism, we will also see increased threats of illegal migration and international terrorism.  For two years now, we have had a declared state of crisis because of the threat from illegal migration.  At the same time, almost on a daily basis, we are witnessing unprecedented terrorist attacks throughout Europe.  All because the circle of responsibility is not closed.

Because of the globalization of cyber threats, we will increasingly be witnessing states – victims of attacks, sabotages and takeover of control over their electricity networks, communication and banking systems.  Many countries have fallen victim to the placing of news and messages tailored and adapted to a certain target audience.  The use of fake news and planned leaks of information are the two basic methods of managing perception in function of subversion.  Apart from its physical, Macedonia must also safeguard its cyber territory.  However, the risk for us is high, because here agin, the circle of responsibility has not been closed.

These are all serious challenges that demand serious answers.  The only institution that can most adequately respond is our Army.  This is why, the future role of the Army will consist of four tasks:

First.  Support to the crisis management mechanism in handling natural disasters and pollution.  I wish to remind state authorities about their obligation to respect the legal justification for including the Army in the process of dealing with the consequences in a state of crisis.  In absence of resources and time, it often happens that the Army, without a decision by the Supreme Commander and without any fulfilled conditions for declaring a state of crisis, is hired for tasks that are within the realm of competences of other institutions.  I wish to reiterate that the Army has been engaged without my decision and without any preconditions for declaring a state of crisis.  This is a serious violation of the Law that I have no intention of tolerating.  The Army is spending its own resources in order to fulfill tasks that fall under the competence of other institutions.  The circle of responsibility must be closed, with clear distinction between the competences - the what, the when and the how - for every stakeholder.

The second role of the Army will be to support the police in the fight against urban terrorism in ethnically and religiously diverse cities. Urbanization is a challenge.  The future grey zone are cities and regionalization.  We must take into consideration the lessons learned from the 1995 UNPREDEP preventive mission in Northwest Macedonia.  These are lessons about the growing threat of separatist ideas and jeopardizing the territorial integrity of our country.

The third role of the Army will be to protect the borders against illegal migration.  It is no longer enough to receive information about migrations when illegal migrants are already at our border.  In order to react in time, we must be present at the very source of illegal migration. Therefore, it is necessary for the Army of the Republic of Macedonia to take part in UN-led peace keeping operations in the regions where these threats originate from.  Illegal migration and international terrorism are threats that we will continue to face in the future. We must renew the military – diplomatic and intelligence network inside the territories that are a source of threats, transit, end destinations, but also in the centres where decisions are made.

Finally, the fourth role of the Army will be cyber defense.  With the support of state bodies, the Army of the Republic of Macedonia must build a syaten for prevention and protection of critical infrastructure.  Priority should be placed on the development of cyber defense and electronic warfare in a future non-linear war.  The lessons learned from non-linear warfare of everyone against everyone else mean conquering territories without casualties and without any use of military weaponry.  In our cyber age, the Army will also defend Macedonian cyber territory.

For eight years now, I have been Supreme Commander and I can freely say that the Army is capable of assuming these tasks.

But, there is a need for more funds.

As a country, we are continuously underlining our dedication and readiness to become part of NATO.  However, id we wish to enjoy the privileges, we must also assume the responsibilities.  The membership of Macedonia in NATO also means a corresponding Army budget.  And that is a minimum of 2% of the state budget.

In this past period, I was able to visist all the army barracks and to personally witness the living standard of soldiers.  I am aware of what they have on the menu, what conditions they live in and what kind of uniforms they wear.  I have first hand information on the challenges that our dedicated and professional soldiers are faced with.  It is high time to restore the dignity of the Macedonian soldier.  It is high time to increase the Army budget.  This because our Army will be facing great challenges and great tasks.

Apart from funds, this also requires reforms.  The reforms of the national security system must be in accordance with the defense strategy.  The same strategy that will have to be adopted by the end of this year.

Dear fellow citizens,

Intelligence is the first line of defense.  The power of information is the basis for prevention and handling threats.  The lessons we learned from the migration crisis say that withough timely information, there is no proactivity.  Without timely information, there is no adequate distribution of the response forces.  We need standards in terms of quality and quantity of information.  We need proactive, rather than reactive intelligence.

There is no universal system of defense, a comprehensive body of legislation with a model for national security.  Every country has threats and interests that should be managed by way of prevention, proactivity and independence.  We are still in the phase of building the capacities for response to these threats.  In these past 25 years, we have been learning many lessons.  We are building our knowledge on the basis of our mistakes.

But this essential reform must pass through a multitude of filters.  All reforms of the national security system must pass through the constitutionally competent Security Council of the Republic of Macedonia.  This is the way to ultimately close the circle of responsibility.

An increased budget and a reformed system with a closed circle of responsibility is the formula for success.  It is only in this way that we will create conditions for the Army to be successful in the realization of all tasks ahead of it.  Tasks that are necessary to be realized in order for the Army to provide the three things most important for every person: carefree childhood, prosperous life and serene old age – right here, in our common homeland, he Republic of Macedonia.

Distinguished members of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia,

This 25th anniversary is a symbolic new chapter for the Army.  You will be facing major challenges and will be given important tasks.  These new tasks and roles should not be considered as a burden, but as a recognition and an expression of our trust in you, in your patriotism and professionalism.  You have completely justified the trust of the citizens and of the homeland.  You have defended the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia.

Therefore, today, on this solemn occasion, I wish for one thing only.  I wish that on the next great anniversary, the 50th anniversary since the establishment of the Army, some future President of the Republic of Macedonia and Supreme Commander would stand here, at this very place and say the same words: soldiers and senior officers, you have completely justified the trust of the citizens and of the homeland – Republic of Macedonia.

I congratulate you and I thank you for your professionalism and discipline in the realization of your highly responsible duties.  I congratulate you and I thank you for your solidarity towards the citizens and your unreserved loyalty toeards the homeland.

Many happy returns of this day, Day of the Army!

Long live the Army of the Republic of Macedonia!

Long live the Republic of Macedonia!

Because of our Macedonian identity, we are being denied the right to prosperity - аddress by the President Ivanov on the occasion of August 2 – Ilinden
Wednesday, 02 August 2017 11:25

ilinden1Distinguished citizens of the Republic of Macedonia,
Distinguished descendants of the known and unknown heroes who sacrificed their lives for our homeland Macedonia,

Many happy returns of this glorious day of Ilinden; the day of light and freedom. Our first Ilinden began in the heroic town of Krushevo. Although the free Republic lasted for only ten days, yet, the memory of it lasted for four decades – until the second, victorious and state-establishing Ilinden, until ASNOM (Anti-Fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia). A name deeply encarved in the foundations of our statehood is that of Metodija Andonov – Chento, the first President of the ASNOM Presiding Committee. The first President of Macedonia.

However, today I will not speak of his participation in NOB (National Liberation Fight) and ASNOM. I will not mention his merit, contribution and numerous sacrifices for Macedonia. Instead, I have decided to speak about his messages addressed to us and the last days of his life.

In the beginning of July 1957, exactly 60 years ago, Metodija Andonov - Chento shared his last words with his sons. Those words, noted in his unfinished auto-biography, are his last authentic testimony about the struggle for freedom and statehood of Macedonia.

The last happening he managed to tell was his last meeting with Kuzman Josifovski – Pitu. According to Chento, in September 1943, Kuzman sent him a letter inviting him to a meeting in Skopje. On September 24, 1943, here, in then occupied Skopje, Chento had a secret meeting with Kuzman. They talked until the late night hours. At the meeting, Kuzman spent a lot of time trying to convince Chento to join the fight, to become a partisan, so that later he could become member of the Headquarters and President of the Initiative Board for convening ASNOM. Kuzman also reminded Chento of his very own words that "we are the only ones who can fight for our freedom, united, and the time for that is now".

In these words of Kuzman, Chento recognized the call of his homeland. Faced with the choice of making a step forward or a step back, Chento finally agreed to join the partisans. This is followed by the last sentence in his unfinished auto-biography: "When I learned that Kuzman died, I was very sad and it was very difficult, because I had lost my support, and honest and reliable friend and peer".

ilinden6Fellow citizens,

These are perhaps the very last words of the great Metodija Andonov – Chento, noted when he was on his deathbed.
With these words, it seems as if Chento is pointing his finger undoubtedly showing us that Kuzman is the leader and ideologist of the Macedonian national liberation and anti-fascist fight; that Kuzman is the Goce Delchev of NOB.
Showing us that Kuzman is the visionary of ASNOM and author of its state-establishing documents; that Kuzman is the driving force behind the front for liberation of Macedonia.
It seems as if Chento was testifying that without Kuzman Josifovski – Pitu, ASNOM would not have been possible. And with that, neither September 8 and independent and sovereign Republic of Macedonia.
Without Kuzman Josifovski – Pitu, today, we would have been a footnote in someone else's interpretation of history.

On this day, Ilinden, as we pay tribute to the founders of our two Ilindens, celebrating their deeds, we remember and mention their aspirations, hopes but also principles. This truth is most vocally represented in the three principles of Kuzman's fight, that later became Chento's principles, and with that, the principles of ASNOM.

The first Kuzman's principle was continuity with Ilinden. At the Prespa Council held on August 2, 1943, among other things, Kuzman said: "Macedonia lost many of its best sons during the glorious Ilinden. But hose victims did not turn into graves. Their heroic endeavors shed a light over Macedonia, becoming a guiding star for the troubled Macedonian people. They lighted up the path and hearts of all honest Macedonians and heroes, as an eternal memory. Since Ilinden, until this day, many known and unknown heroes lost their lives in the fight for Macedonia. Following in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers, many young Macedonians, many new fighters, died as heroes and martyrs in the fight against today's occupiers. The bones of all those victims, spread across the fields and towns in Macedonia, rooted in the Macedonian soil, became the rock solid foundations for tomorrow's freedom..."

Reading his discourse today, one must ask oneself whether Kuzman actually borrowed the Christian narrative to preach a political liberation of Macedonia. Kuzman spoke about truth and freedom, path and light, struggle and sacrifice. He spoke about life and death, empty graves and foundations, martyrs of the first and followers of the second Ilinden. Martyrs and followers that he himself related not only by words, but by action. Thanks to Kuzman, the old Ilinden fighters Brashnarov, Vlahov, Shatev and Germov also became part of ASNOM.

The second principle of Kuzman was anti-fascism. Kuzman knew that the fight against fascism is a fight for freedom. He constantly reminded that "the Macedonian people are now in the most decisive days of their difficult history, and salvation is in the general fight against fascism". Just like Chento, he was aware that only if the Macedonian people liberate themselves from fascism on their own, they would be able to acquire their right to self-determination. Thanks to Kuzman, the fight against fascism became a fight for national liberation of the Macedonian people.

Here we arrive at the third principle of Kuzman – that the fight for freedom implies a wide Macedonian front. Although he was a member of the Communist party, Kuzman did not recognize any political party, ethnic or religious key. He opposed a wide civil concept to the existing narrow political party concept of the Communist party, based on ideological obedience and eligibility. His concept encompassed all layers of Macedonian society. In spite of party pressures, he was persistent, insisting that "the Macedonian national front should embrace all honest Macedonians, regardless of their affiliation, nationality, religion or gender". He advocated for filling in the key positions with people who are not first and foremost affiliated to Communism, but to Macedonia. This is how Chento became the first President of the Presiding Committee of ASNOM.

But why is this so important? Because the three principles of Kuzman, that later became the principles of Chento, stem from a single value. That value is freedom.

ilinden3Fellow citizens,

Throughout his entire life, Kuzman Josifovski – Pitu fought for the national and social liberation of Macedonia. And he saw the entire sense of human existence in the fight for national and social freedom.
In this life aim of his, we can recognize the two faces of freedom. First, the negative freedom from slavery. Second, the positive freedom for prosperity.

Kuzman knew very well that freedom from slavery is just freedom in half. And as just a half of the whole, it is, in itself, insufficient and unsustainable. The uprisings and revolutions in human history that only ended in new regimes, dictatorships and tyrannies are a clear example of this. Since, people can be formally and politically free, but economically and culturally dependent, and with that, essentially enslaved and incapable of moving forward. In order to be sustainable, freedom needs its other half – that being the positive freedom of self-identification, self-realization and prosperity. That freedom is much more difficult to acquire, having in mind its tight bond to truth.

We should first know who we are in order to know who we want to be.
We should first know where we are in order to know where we want to be.
We should first know what we have in order to know what we wish to acquire.

And if Kuzman and Chento would have the chance to look at their homeland today, our homeland, they would most certainly rejoice the 26 years of independence and sovereignty, for those were the aims of the fight for national liberation of Macedonia. However, I believe that at the same time, both Kuzman and Chento would be bitter, seeing us still being denied our freedom of self-identification, self-realization and prosperity.

Kuzman's motto, that later became the one of ASNOM, was: "Free Macedonia in free Balkans". Today, both the Republic of Macedonia and the Balkans are free of external occupiers and conquerors. Empires disappeared, and dictatorships and totalitarian regimes collapsed. However, neither the Republic of Macedonia or the Balkans as a whole are completely free to build their own prosperity. This because neither the Republic of Macedonia or the Balkans are a part of the European Union. And the European Union is the only force that motivates or states and societies to voluntarily transform. Therefore, we still lack that second half of freedom, and that is a European Macedonia in European Balkans.

In order to create the conditions for prosperity in this globalized world of ours, it is necessary to become part of the European Union and NATO. It is this membership that was supposed to enable us to finally reach our aim – freedom. However, as a country walking down that road, we have been blackmailed. And the price to pay is high, too high.

In these years of independence, we have been deprived of the right to prosperity. Although we met all the criteria for NATO membership and opening accession negotiations, we have suffered an injustice. None of the Member States, on its European path, ever had to face the issues that we invest time, energy and patience in every day. None of the other Member States was asked to do what is asked of us – to deny the right of human dignity and self-identification. This is not an alibi for the mistakes and errors we have made thus far. But, while we were preoccupied dealing with the injustices that were committed against us, in the form of denials and double standards, the world around us changed.

ilinden4Dear fellow citizens,

In the past five years, two now former presidents of two neighboring countries, Member States of the European Union and NATO said the same thing. The first one warned us that Macedonism will keep the doors to EU and NATO closed. The second, on the other hand, said that Macedonia should join the European Union, but not Macedonism. At first glance, both gave us a good-intentioned advice to throw away the robe of Macedonism and leave it at the door of the Euro-Atlantic home.

Both probably starting with the assumption that that robe is something that belongs to someone else, a stolen good that someone gave or illegally sold to us. They claim that Macedonism is a lie with which we cover the truth about who we truly are.

Their advice would be welcome, if that robe or cover was indeed false. But things are not that simple. Macedonism is Macedonhood. It is a part of our being. Macedonhood is our face and identity, what we are recognizable for to others and what we recognize ourselves by when looking at the mirror of history. Macedonhood is our name and heritage, our culture and tradition, our Macedonian language, our 7/8 musical rhythm, our Macedonian model of coexistence and respect of diversity. Macedonhood is that authentic worldview that makes us who we are. Macedonhood is the expression of our self-identification.

The only way to accept their advice is to revert to some sort of metaphorical plastic surgery and remove our skin in order to make us unrecognizable. This means renouncing the truth that our predecessors, the Ilinden and ASNOM fighters, fought for and won.

Dear fellow citizens,

Let us not fool ourselves. Without the Macedonhood of Macedonian enlighteners from the 19th century, the first Ilinden would not have happened.
Without the Macedonhood of Macedonian partisans, the second Ilinden would not have happened.
Without the Macedonhood of Macedonian citizens, we would not have an independent and sovereign Republic of Macedonia.

Because, without Macedonhood, Macedonia is only form without substance. Without Macedonhood, Macedonian people would be reduced to a mere amorphous mass that can be modeled according to the will of foreigners. The fight for national and social freedom of Macedonians necessarily means Macedonhood. Therefore, the memory of our fighters and heroes is also cherished through the monuments that we see around us in this square and in this city. For, without memory, there is no future.

However, Macedonhood is not only memorial days and monuments dedicated to our heroes. Macedonhood is so much more than that. Macedonhood is consistent respect for their actions, following in their footsteps, spreading their values, that should have become our values by now: truth, justice, solidarity, freedom of conscience and thought, democracy, human rights, unity in terms of state interests and above all, love for Macedonia. The problem is that we did not stay faithful to their oath. We stepped down from the road and we got lost in mutual accusations and fatal revanchism. We brought ourselves in the position of being blackmailed as a country. And the price is high, too high.

Because of our Macedonian identity, we are being denied the right to prosperity. And in such circumstances, there are two questions upsetting the public. First, the name issue with Greece. Second, the issue of the Agreement on good neighborly relations with Bulgaria.

Fellow citizens,

We have been leading the talks regarding the name difference with neighboring Greece for more than 20 years now. I believe that we can reach a mutually acceptable, dignified solution for both sides. This requires political will and strict observance of the frame in which these talks take place. That is namely the Resolution of the United Nations, the Interim Accord and the judgment of the International Court of Justice. If the talks go beyond that frame, it will be very difficult to find a solution. Therefore, it is necessary to respect international law and to be consistent with the internationally assumed obligations. The Republic of Macedonia will continue participating in the United Nations – led process, because it is necessary to create a positive ambiance aiming at better understanding and respect.

I welcome the constructiveness of the confidence building measures between the two countries. At the same time, I urge for their expansion with new content. For years, the Macedonian side has been giving continuous constructive contribution and initiatives aiming at building trust between the two countries and societies. It is necessary for both sides to give an additional impetus to overcoming this issue, which is of essential importance for the stability and prosperity of the entire region.

ilinden5Dear fellow citizens,

The second issue is related to the Agreement on good neighborly relations with Bulgaria.

Since the very first day of my mandate, I have been an advocate of promoting good neighborly relations with all neighbors, based on the principles of mutual respect, assistance and support. This is why I supported the initiative for transforming the Declaration on good neighborly relations of 1999 into an Agreement on friendship, good neighborly relations and cooperation with the Republic of Bulgaria. I believe that, as neighbors, we are naturally prone to mutual cooperation. At that time, I gave a proposal on how to approach the two key aspects: common history and the nature of this agreement.

Experience has shown that all problems in the Balkans arise when politicians deal with history, and historians with politics. Some might say – well, President, even this Ilinden speech of yours is dedicated to history. However, I speak about the values and principles that were the foundations of our fight for freedom, and those are uncontestable historical facts. My duty, as President, is to protect the acquisitions that our ancestors fought for and won. And those inevitably include the truth about our past as a basis for our present and future.

If we start opening old wounds, we will easily find reasons for dispute. Therefore, at the very beginning I pointed out clearly that with Bulgaria, we should celebrate only the glorious dates from the common history of our two neighboring, sovereign and equal states.

That common history began on January 15, 1992, when the Republic of Bulgaria, led by President Zhelu Zhelev, became the first country to recognize the independence of the Republic of Macedonia. With that, Zhelev opened the way for international recognition of Macedonia and dispersed the dark scenarios for new divisions of Macedonia. This is the reason why I proposed a joint celebration of January 15 – the day when Bulgaria recognized our independence. For that can be considered as the beginning of our common history.

When, on December 19, 2009, the visa liberalization for Macedonian citizens came into effect, together with the former Bulgarian President Prvanov we raised the ramps on the Gjueshevo – Deve Bair border crossing. With that, we symbolically raised the bareer dividing Europe into two parts. This is why I also proposed a joint celebration of May 9 – Europe Day. Because this is where our common future is oriented at.

I am pleased that the Agreement on good neighborly relations foresees celebrating this undisputed period.

However, there are figures of civilizational importance that should be celebrated jointly not only by Macedonia and Bulgaria, but all other Slavic speaking countries, such as Ss. Cyril and Methodius.

The second aspect is related to the nature of this Agreement.

Since the beginning of this process, I insisted for the agreement to be symmetrical. What does this mean? Good neighborly relations are a two way street. This agreement means that the same rules apply for the left and the right side of the street. What applies for Macedonia, applies for Bulgaria as well. Observing the principles of equality and reciprocity, we are closing an open issue that used to burden our relations. At the same time, we are opening the door for building mutual trust and cooperation.

The agreement is a result of compromise that can never satisfy absolutely everyone. These sorts of agreements are an expression of compromise that should be viewed from the point of view of future, and not the past.

I call upon the two Governments to contribute to the fulfillment of the aim of this agreement, including the Joint committee whose aim will be to build trust and friendship.

Fellow citizens,

For several months now, we have a new Government, with which we have several shared competences. In that sense, I wish to underline several points.

Firstly, we are bound by the Constitution to cooperate in the area of foreign policy. According to the Law on Foreign Affairs, as it has been the case thus far, I will continue to participate in the creation of our foreign policy in cooperation with the Government.

I expect an improvement of coordination between the relevant institutions in charge of foreign affairs, in order to make the voice of Macedonian diplomacy unique, clear and well argumented. Only those candidates for ambassadors who will fulfill the criteria for professionalism, expertise and experience will receive my approval. As for the current and future ambassadors, I expect an intensified engagement in terms of realization of the set strategic goals of the Republic of Macedonia – Euro-Atlantic integration, good neighborly relations, regional cooperation and openness towards all well-intentioned partners. We must strengthen the existing and create new friendships and partnerships, both at the bilateral and multilateral level.

Secondly, with the rebalancing of the budget, the new Government is making an attempt for financial consolidation of the country. I wish to remind you that representation, security and defense of the state are not a luxury, but a necessity. The budget used for representing the country abroad is not an expenditure but an investment in new friendships and partnerships for Macedonia. The budget used for security and defense is not an expenditure but an investment in providing conditions for normal functioning of the state. Intelligence is the first line of defense, and its main pillar is the Army of the Republic of Macedonia. The Army is not only fulfilling its constitutional obligation to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia, but is often handling the tasks of other institutions. The operational environment is changing. We will deal more often with disasters and unconventional threats. Therefore, the Army should be ready, and this requires a bigger budget.

Thirdly, I support the systemic reforms of the entities in the system of national security, in accordance with the constitutional competences of the Security Council of the Republic of Macedonia.

Fourthly, the highest priority for every Government is to contribute to the economic prosperity of Macedonian citizens with a successful economic policy.

Finally, cohabitation means that we should work together on finding solutions for the benefit of the citizens who elected us. Solutions that will not be contested and will not cause any negative consequences. Solutions that will last not only to the following elections, but will be of benefit to future generations. Therefore, I am ready for the process of cohabitation in terms of any law that will build the European image of Macedonia.

ilinden0Fellow Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Serbs, Roma, Vlachs, Bosniacs,
Fellow Christians, Muslims, Jews, Atheists,
Dear fellow citizens,

The aim of the Ilinden fighters, partisans and ASNOM fighters was freedom from slavery. The aim of our generation is freedom for prosperity.

Membership in the European Union and NATO will inevitably require a sacrifice. But for every sacrifice, there needs to be a wide national and state consensus. Let us be careful not to sacrifice what our ancestors sacrificed their lives for. Let us not lay our identity at the altar.

Just like Chento, we stand and listen to the call of our homeland. We should decide whether we will make that brave step forward or step back. But we must never lose sight of Kuzman's three principles.

First, to preserve the continuity of the first and second Ilinden, the Krushevo Manifesto for coexistence and the ASNOM statehood documents.

Secondly, to continue the fight against the new fascism, against exclusion, xenophobia and hatred, against radicalism, extremism and terrorism.

Thirdly, to establish a wide Macedonian front in which there will be space for prosperity of all honest Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Serbs, Roma, Bosnacs, regardless of their ideological or political affiliation. Let us leave aside the fatal mutual accusations and revanchism. Let us unite for the sake of the state and national interests of the Republic of Macedonia. Because it is only united that we will be able to build a European Republic of Macedonia, and thus finally walk until the end of the road to freedom.

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

Address on the Opening Ceremony of the 57th Ohrid Summer Festival
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 22:10
Address at the 28th Session of the Crans Montana Forum
Wednesday, 05 July 2017 18:12

Distinguished attendees,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to participate again in the Crans Montana Forum – a format for which I use every occasion to say that it is an excellent opportunity to exchange opinions and positions, especially having in mind the fact that the motto of the Forum - building a more humane and impartial world, is more important today than ever before.

An additional weight to today's meeting is given by the unfortunate events that happened recently in several countries, regretfully demonstrating that, in spite of all our efforts to fight terrorism, this modern Hydra is still very much alive and undermines all societies regardless of their political or value system. What has been a reality in the Middle East for a longer while, is slowly becoming part of the real life in Europe.

Taking into consideration this, and many other challenges that the world is facing today, building a sustainable strategy for stability and progress is becoming perhaps not impossible, but certainly complex mission that requires a lot of joint efforts, dedication, a dose of self criticism and complete sincerity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Past has taught us that humanity has often been late - every belated reaction and lost opportunity for action meant either going backwards or at the very least, stagnation. Nevertheless, the advantage of the present is that it gives us opportunity to learn from the past, in order never again to be late when it comes to our future and the future of our young people.

Here I am referring to a broader context – political, social, economic, cultural and even in the area of sports, if you wish – it is high time to liberate ourselves from the prejudice of big and small countries, and to turn towards their strategic reality and profile, that in today's categories is actually a combination of geopolitics and the capacity to successfully catch up with the new times and all of the advantages and risks they bring.

As an argument in favor, I would certainly mention the example of my country, the Republic of Macedonia, and the way it successfully handled only one within the series of challenges in this past period.

Namely, the migration crisis convinced even the biggest skeptics in two things: firstly, that a small territory does not mean irrelevant territory; and secondly, that a small country does not necessarily mean a minor role in global processes.
The so-called Balkan route of refugees and migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa demonstrated that the Balkans, and above all Macedonia, is indeed a bridge between the East and the West, as well as the fastest route to the countries of Western Europe, as the end destination in the pursuit of happiness of these people.

We must not forget that exactly Macedonia and the Balkans are the crossroads where the best features of these supposedly opposite worlds naturally merge in the form of a peaceful and centuries – long coexistence.
The manner in which a country decides to deal with these and similar challenges is the best and most visible reflection of its contribution to the establishment of a better world for future generations. This choice will determine whether the already fragile stability will get better or worse.

Macedonia's choice was humanity, impartiality and equal treatment when it comes to the humanitarian aspect of the migration crisis; as well as decisiveness and an extended hand for cooperation with all stakeholders when it comes to the security related aspect.

Of course, one must bear in mind that the migration crisis is just one in the series of irreversible global processes that humanity will continue to face.

Distinguished attendees,

As opposed to everything that I just stated, there is a stark contrast, a completely different situation – the Republic of Macedonia being a classic example illustrating today's global disorder, and let me explain why.

In the case of my country, there is a complete disrespect of an international, legally binding agreement signed with one of our neighboring countries. As if this is not enough, we also have a judgment of the International Court of Justice in the Hague that everybody seems to ignore, as if it does not exist. Macedonia has done a great deal for the security in Europe, despite it still being treated as a so-called third country, with even our access to certain security instruments of the EU being limited - although we are talking about platforms for exchange of information for the benefit of the entire continent. Macedonia is an example of how a country can be subject to double standards, bordering hypocrisy even.
In spite of all this, I remain optimistic and I do hope that the EU and NATO, as well as the countries of our region will draw lessons from this wrongful approach towards the Republic of Macedonia.

Having in mind the subject matter that we are discussing today, I cannot see any other sustainable strategy for stability in conditions of a globally unpredictable environment, except the return of the only kind of order that offered certain stability - namely, the respect, and not tailor made interpretation of international law and obligations. This goes hand in hand with maximum cooperation, above all in the area of security and fight against the major challenges – extremism and terrorism.


The foundations of world order as we know it are seriously undermined and therefore we have found ourselves in a situation that I like to label as global disorder. UN being one of those foundations needs to reform itself and adapt to the new reality. The same goes for all other international institutions which must not allow themselves to stay trapped in the 20th century - on the contrary, they must become more functional in order to be the true guarantors of stability.

The time to act is now. From a societal point of view, we must move towards a system of governance that will take into account the collective welfare, not forgetting the expansion of each and every one of us individually. New technologies are already providing that individual opportunity – it is up to us to raise awareness about their use in positive goals.
We must not forget that the world is still bleeding from conflicts, wars, blockades and disagreements, and that no one is immune to these phenomena.

The key lies in the knowledge that a person is either your brother in faith, or your equal in humanity – in other words, every person deserves our respect, acceptance and trust.

This is the most solid basis on which, having in mind today's reality, we can build a world that we strive towards – one of progress, peace, stability and equal treatment for all.

Thank you.

Обраќање по повод доделувањето „Медал за заслуги за Македонија“ за членовите на РК Вардар и признание „Повелба на Република Македонија“ на РК Вардар
Tuesday, 06 June 2017 15:28
There are no translations available.

Наши ракометни херои,
Почитувани гости,

Нека ни е честито освојувањето на Лига на шампиони во ракомет. Нека ни е честит најголемиот успех на македонскиот машки екипен спорт. Навистина имаме причина да се гордееме и да се радуваме на овој историски успех.

Во името на сите граѓани на Република Македонија имав задоволството и честа да донесам укази за доделување на високи државни признанија на нашите спортски идоли. Со својот подвиг ракометарите на „Вардар" апсолутно ги заслужија високите признанија. Од сè срце ви честитам на огромниот успех.

Со вашата желба, мотивираност, сплотеност и тимски дух ни покажавте дека не постојат искушенија и предизвици кои не можат да се надминат и врвови кои не можат да се освојат. Вие сте пример од кој ќе учат и ќе се мотивираат и сегашните и идните генерации.

Верувам дека овој Ваш успех ја обедини целата нација и дека ќе биде импулс и понатаму заеднички да веруваме и да навиваме, заеднички да прославуваме и да се радуваме, да бидеме сплотени и во победите и во поразите како составен дел од спортот и животот.


Успехот на Ракометниот клуб „Вардар" не е случаен, тој не е дојден преку ноќ. Веќе четири години РК „Вардар" е во врвот на европскиот ракомет. Тоа секако се должи на инвестирањето во клубот, одличната организација, извонредниот стручен штаб, грижливата селекција на играчи и секако најдобрата публика. Освојувањето на лигата на шампионите е награда за една макотрпна, вредна и континуирана работа.

Победени се екипи кои се великани во машкиот ракомет со многу подолга традиција, поголемо искуство, со бројни трофеи, со звучни ракометни имиња и со буџети неколку кратно поголеми од оние на нашиот шампион. За овој спортски подвиг пресуди и Вашата борбеност, самодоверба и тимски пристап. Прекрасно е да се види како играчи кои доаѓаат од различни делови на Европа дури некои и од сосема друг континент да ги краси единството и вистинскиот тимски дух. Тоа е вредност што не е медал кој виси на градите и може да се освои, тоа е нешто што го имате или немате кај Вас. Затоа сме особено горди што имате големи срца и секогаш ги оставате на теренот.

Сега во сите Вас, нашите млади имаат идоли на кои ќе им се восхитуваат и по чии стапки верувам ќе сакаат да тргнат. Спортот како филозофија на живот треба да биде алтернатива на пороците на денешницата.

Благодарение на овој успех верувам дека сега и да нема дете во Македонија кое не се замислува како ракометар или спортист. Сите заедно да помогнеме овој моментум да резултира со раѓање на нови шампиони.

Драги пријатели,

Македонија живее за спортот и знае да се радува на спортските успеси. Нашиот народ е гладен за трофеи и успеси. За радост и славје, За заедништво и сплотеност. Посакувам и понатаму да има вакви светли мигови и нашите плоштади ќе бидат преполни со граѓани кои се радуваат на големи спортски успеси.

На крајот од ова мое обраќање би сакал уште една да ви се заблагодарам за сета радост што ни ја приредивте.

Ви посакувам уште многу победи и многу трофеи и животни успеси.

Ние сме тука секогаш да ве бодриме и со гордост да навиваме за вас.

Честито Вардар шампионе !


Обраќање по повод доделувањето Орден за заслуги за Македонија на Македонската опера и балет
Tuesday, 09 May 2017 10:43
There are no translations available.

Почитувани присутни,
Дами и господа,
Драги пријатели,

Чест ми е да ви се обратам на 9 мај, денот на победата над фашизмот и денот на Европа.

Кога на 9 мај 1945 година оружјето замолкна во Европа, многумина се прашуваа дали музиката е возможна по ѕверствата на Втората светска војна. Дали по уништувањата, човештвото има морално право да твори уметност. Тоа секако ќе беше огромна загуба за сите нас, бидејќи е тешко да се замисли светот без музиката, танцот, песната, операта.

Секој љубител на операта знае дека успехот на овој голем уметнички потфат најмногу зависи од две нешта. Прво, од умешното свирење со музичкиот инструмент создаден од човекот. И, второ, од правилното користење на човечкиот глас како најсовршениот инструмент подарен од Бога. Балетот, пак, кон нив го придодава и танцот. Како симбиоза на музиката, зборот и танцот, операта и балетот се најтешките музички и уметнички форми. Оттука, стремеж на секое општество и култура е да се најде на светската оперска и балетска мапа.

Нашата македонска приказна започна во мугрите на македонската држава – само три години по АСНОМ, со основањето на оперскиот ансамбл во 1947 година и премиерата на Кавалерија Рустикана. Љубителите на класичната музика секако знаат дека ова е првото и најзначајно оперско дело на Пјетро Маскањи. Но не сите знаат како настанало.

Младиот Маскањи во последен момент дознал дека има конкурс за опера за млади композитори кои до тогаш не напишале ниту една опера. Во духот на реализмот, инспириран од еден расказ на Верга, Маскањи за помалку од два месеци го завршил делото. Сепак, младиот композитор не бил целосно задоволен од квалитетот на своето дело. Партитурата му ја пратил на својот пријател Пучини за второ мислење. Иако Пучини сметал дека оваа опера нема никаква шанса да победи на натпреварот, во знак на добра волја ја препратил кај својот издавач, кој операта на дебитантот веднаш ја отфрлил како безвредна. Обесхрабрен, Маскањи кренал раце. Но, не и неговата сопруга, која без негово знаење ја пратила партитурата на конкурсот. Во 1890 година, во конкуренција на 73 опери, Кавалерија Рустикана убедливо победила.

Неговата прва опера била премиерно изведена на 17 мај 1890 година. 57 години подоцна, новоформираната Македонска опера и балет дебитираа на македонската сцена со операта со која дебитираше и самиот Маскањи – Кавалерија Рустикана.

Orden_MOB_1Драги пријатели,

Верувам дека ова дело не било случајно избрано, бидејќи, начинот на неговото создавање во себе носи голема симболика.

Прво, зборува за младите. Свесно или не, доајените на младата македонска опера преку премиерата симболично го изразија потенцијалот на младите, се уште недокажани македонски уметници. Оваа институција и овозможи на цела наша плејада на талентирани и врвни музичари и истакнати солисти да се стекнат со неповторливо искуство.

Второ, добронамерната помош е добредојдена. Ние не секогаш можеме сами. Доволно е да се сетиме дека процутот на македонската опера и балет е тесно поврзан со маестро Ловро Матачиќ кој помогна во насочувањето на потенцијалот на македонските музичари.

Трето, неопходна е самодоверба. Во животот ќе има многумина кои ќе не обесхрабруваат. Доколку критичарите го имаа последниот збор, денес никој од нас овде немаше да знае за Маскањи и за Кавалерија Рустикана. Но, еден чекор на верба промени се.

Токму таков чекор на верба направија и уметниците кои пред 70 години ги поставија темелите на Македонската опера и балет.

Таков чекор на верба направивме и ние во 1991 година, кога прогласивме суверена и независна Република Македонија, тогаш кога некои се сомневаа во нас. И денес, кога повторно сме сведоци на разни сомнежи во нашата државотворност, ние не треба да се обесхрабруваме. Се додека идејата на слободата и независноста на Македонија е во нашите срца, нема да потклекнеме и да се откажеме.

Водени од овие три нешта, нашите уметници самоуверено ги започнаа и „Мајските оперски вечери" кои годинава се одржуваат по 45-ти пат. Нашите уметници дебитираа на светските оперски и балетски сцени. Некои од нив станаа наши амбасадори на културата низ сите меридијани. Нивните настапи се сведоштво дека Македонија е татковина на извонредни креативци.

Затоа, на овој свечен ден, 9 мај, како Претседател на Република Македонија имам чест на Македонската опера и балет да и доделам Орден за заслуги за Македонија. Овој орден е признание за успешното промовирање на македонското и на светското творештво од областа на оперската и на балетската уметност.

Овој орден е признание за улогата што Македонската опера и балет ја има во победата на креативноста над деструктивноста и музиката над тишината.

Со таа мисла, на самиот крај, ви посакувам едно нешто: да имате се повеќе распродадени концерти и во Македонија и во светот.

Ви благодарам.


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