By Sinisa Jakov Marusic
The leaders of Macedonia and Greece, Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras, are to be nominated for a Nobel peace prize for their efforts to achieve a historic agreement between their countries.
One of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize winners, Tunisian economist Uided Bushamaui, has said she will nominate the two prime ministers of Macedonia and Greece, Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras, for signing a landmark agreement between their countries.
“I see the Prespa agreement, in which both parties and the mediators have put so much energy, as an exceptionally significant process which deserves to be nominated for the Nobel Peace prize”, Bushamaui, told the media on Monday, adding that the agreement can serve as a model for problem-solving across the world.
The Tunisian Nobel Prize winner is currently in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, where on Tuesday she will officially submit her nomination at a special ceremony, which other Macedonian and Greek diplomats, politicians and political observers have endorsed.
Macedonia and Greece signed a landmark agreement in June on resolving a long dispute over Macedonia’s name and after spending the first part of the year in tough UN-mediated talks.
The agreement was signed on the shores of Lake Prespa, which spans both countries, despite bitter opposition from right-wingers in both countries.
The agreement, which is yet to be implemented in Macedonia, and must
then be ratified in Greece, would end a decades-long dispute centered
over the use of the term “Macedonia”.
Under the deal, Macedonia will change its name into Republic of North Macedonia in order to satisfy the concerns of neighbouring Greece, which has a province of the same name and whose historians have long claimed Macedonia as an exclusive part of Hellenic heritage.
The agreement will open Macedonia’s doors to NATO and EU membership. Greece has thus far used its influence to veto its neighbour’s accession.
Bushamaui, who is the first woman head of the Tunisian Chamber of Commerce, was awarded the Nobel prize as part of the team that comprised the Tunisian “National Dialogue Quartet”, a coalition of local civil society organizations.
The award went for the Quartet’s “decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia” in the wake of the so-called Jasmine Revolution of 2011.