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UN Chief’s Visit Raises Hopes In Macedonia

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By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

As Ban Ki-moon, and his mediator in the Greek-Macedonian “name” dispute, Matthew Nimetz, begin a two-day visit to Macedonia, hopes rise of a fresh diplomatic initiative.

The UN Secretary General’s visit to Macedonia has raised hopes of a fresh push in the stalled UN-sponsored “name” talks, although few expect a breakthrough.

Macedonia
Macedonia

“The fact that Ban Ki-moon will be accompanied by the special envoy… is seen as a confirmation of the importance attributed by the UN head for a prompt settlement of the issue and for finding a way to accelerate the process,” the Macedonian Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

Ki-moon begins his visit in the lakeside town of Ohrid, where he will meet President Gjorge Ivanov. On Wednesday, in Skopje, he will meet Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski, as well as delivering an address to parliament.

“The country’s constructive approach and determination toward finding a mutually acceptable solution to the name dispute will be reiterated to the UN Secretary General and mediator Nimetz,” the Macedonian Foreign Ministry added.

After the talks in Skopje, Ki-moon’s envoy will depart for Thessaloniki, Greece, on Thursday, for a meeting with the Greek “name” negotiator, Adamantios Vassilakis.

Greece insists that use of the term “Macedonia” implies a territorial claim to its own northern province of the same name. Citing the unresolved issue, Greece has repeatedly blocked Macedonia’s progress towards both EU and NATO membership.

UN-brokered talks to overcome the dispute have failed to result in a solution and there have been no substantial talks for over a year, partly owing to the complicated political situation in Greece.

As part of his tour of the region the UN Secretary General previously visited Slovenia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo. After wrapping up his stay to Macedonia, Ki-Moon heads for Bosnia and Herzegovina, his last stop.

Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

14 thoughts on “UN Chief’s Visit Raises Hopes In Macedonia

  • Avatar
    July 25, 2012 at 9:07 am
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    Everyone needs to recognise that there is an immense amount of confusion. The indigenous Albanians and Slavs of FYROM share the same Illyrian land but have different language, customs, and religion.

    When the Bulgarian ancestors of the skopjian leadership came to our lands between 700-900 AD they only found the indigenous Albanians on the land that is now known as FYROM and Greek tribes to the south. While these first Bulgarian settlers were known to be a little primitive they qucikly assimilated to our Balkan culture, cuisine, clothing styles, songs, dances, and stories.

    Many who went to live in the Greek lands to the south also assimilated to their cultural customs. As the indigenous people of this land who are descended from the Illyrians and have lived on this land continuosly until the Slavs came, we only ask the skopjian authorites to respect our human rights.

    Macedonians are those who want this name whether they are the original Greeks or whether they are the Slavic populations of FYROM. To us this makes no difference because neither the skopjian authorities can shed their medieval Slavic skins nor can the Greeks escape from their ancient past. Just like the indigenous Albanians can’t lose their prehistoric link to this land from the Illyrians and Paeonians.

    Respect should be at the core and while in FYROM many Slav racists continue to harm our indigenous rights, we are aware that not all the Slavs of FYROM are nationalist racists.

    Finding a name compromise demands respect of each other which at this stage is lacking.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      July 25, 2012 at 11:57 pm
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      Sam,the protoslavs came to thsese areas is centuries before your claim of 700-900 AD.
      Here is something to enlighten your historical knowledge;But,before I touch on that subject,here is news flash for you;The Albanian government warned the Macedonian minority in Golo Brdo not to open-up schools in Macedonian language,or face a fine of over 1000 euro.The Albanian cencus did not recognize the minorities in Albania.The Greek and Macedonian minorities united to protest the exclusion.On the other hand,the Albanian minority in the Republic of Macedonia have all the rights as any macedonian citizen.The proof is in Parliament where the governing Party is in coalition with the Albanian.Albanians are in high government positions,for example;Minister of Defence,Vice-premier Arifi,Health Minister in the previous administration etc.You should be ashamed of your self for distorting the facts.

      Now on the Slavs coming to this area;
      Mario Alinei,Dean Emiritus of the Utrecht University,director of several linguistic revious and progenitor of the Continuity Theory,states;”I have to commence by clearing away one of the most ABSURD consequences of the traditional chronology namely,that of the arrival of the Slavs into the immense area in which they now live.The only logical conclusion can be that the southern branch of the slavs is the oldest and that from it developed the slavic Western and Eastern branches…Today only a minority of experts support the theory of a late migration of the Slavs.
      Recent genetic studies conducted by Oxford University reveal that todays ethnic Macedonians carry only 15.2% of the Slav gene,slightly above modern Greeks and Albanians and less than Serbs and Bulgarians!
      They further reveal that todays ethnic Macedonians have the highest amount of the Mediterranean gene of all European people!
      This was also confirmed by the University of Madrid studies.In a court of law,it is genetic proof that is conclusive,I might add!
      I will not go into the Greek fabrications Alinei writes since this portion covers your ill informed theory.
      Sam,lets stick to the truth.You have more rights in the Republic of Macedonia than an Albanian in Albania!Of course the Macedonian minority has none in Albania.You should be happy to be in the most democratic country,and thats Macedonia!Have a nice day!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    July 25, 2012 at 9:18 am
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    Get over it Sam – it’s the 21st Century, not medieval times.

    Most citizens of the country regardless of ethnicity and religion simply want to be healthy, happy, safe and earn enough money to feed their famalies – they don’t care about what happened 1000 years ago.

    It’s people with comments like your’s that threaten this countries stability.

    Grow up

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm
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    Gruevski says he will continue to be ‘constructive’ but I haven’t heard a single solution come out of Skopje yet. The Greek government has, over the course of negotiations, removed its objection to the use of the word Macedonia, and has asked that a geographical qualifier be added instead that would differentiate this country from the Greek province of Macedonia. Gruvski’s response has been to build statues of Greek heroes like Alexander the Great, and promote massive propaganda campaigns that try to link his Slav Bulgarian population to the ancient Greek Macedonians. Greece simply wants Skopje to respect Greek identity,insert a geographical qualifier, and to stop making threats. Until FYROM is willing to do so there will not be a solution.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      July 26, 2012 at 12:15 am
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      Akron,lets stop masticating same old same old.
      Greeces fear is the name Macedonia,thats why your present PM Samaras started this bull back when.
      Mitsotakis was straight forward by saying”It is not the name I fear,it is the recognition of the Macedonian minority in Greece.By recognizing the Macedonian minority will damage our external politics”.
      In other words,Greece has been lying to the world about the existance of the Macedonian minority in occupied Aegean Macedonia.
      UN special Human Rights Miss.McDougals report on the Macedonian minority in Greece,you should read.Today in the Republic of Macedonia,the UN General Secretary said”Macedonia is beautiful,you don’t have to change your identity”.Once Nimitz goes to Salonika,we will see the protest Greece will make on the comment.Look for it on Thursday!
      Greece is in panic on this statement.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    July 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm
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    That’s not a fair comment Steve. After all it’s FUROM that is busy buliding statues of ancient and medieval figures in an obvious attempt to fabricate history and desatbilize the region. FYROM can’t attempt to rewrite history and then get upset when people speak to their lies and provocations. You should be upset with Gruevski.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 26, 2012 at 2:37 am
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    I’m sorry Mr Peter but anyone who uses genetic studies to prove historical lineage is at best speculating on a few genetic variables and at worst playing on the naive minds of the citizenry. The evidence is in the Balkan cultures.

    The Slav migrations from the Volga regions that entered the Balkans around 700-900 AD is well recorded among our indigenous people who know these Slavic foreigners from their rather crude and primitve attire. It is not by chance that many of the Slavic peasantry of FYROM happen to still ware traditional Albanian clothes in the coutryside.

    Even when the Slavic women marry they ware traditional Albanian styled attire with the customary coins sewn in which is an ancient Illyrian custom practiced on these ancient lands long before your Bulgarian ancestors arrived.

    I understand that the skopjian leadership is trying very hard to forge an identity to distinguish itself.

    But we must remember the indigenous people of this land are descended from the Illyrians and Paeonians and they are as ancient as the Greek tribes to the south. The medieval Slavs have also a right to be here now just as the British who settled the USA, Canada, and Australia have a right.

    But the skopjian authorites do not help the indigneous Albanians by building statues and renaming the whole land just to please themselves with ambiguous histories. Inventing an identity has been done before and will probably happen again. The time is right to respect one another and not sit and watch the racist Slavic nationalists in the skopjian leadership destroy everything.

    Also Mr. Peter Albania is not our ancestral land but rather Paeonia which today your skopjian leadership has taken over. While we respect the Albanians in their lands we also try to respect the Slavs in our sacred lands. FYROM is only a Slavic veneer, remember that.

    And for you Mr. Steve, I believe you are one of those unfortunate Slavs who has not yet understood what the value of respect means. Maybe one day when you wake up hungry you might take a moment to think of how when your Bulgarian ancestors arrived here hungry, cold, and dressed in animal skins, that it was the indigenous Albanians who fed you, put wool, linens and fabrics on your backs to keep you warm, and most importantly taught your Slavic ancestors the rich Balkan culture which you are my friend so assimilated with.

    Our indignous stories always talk about the time when the Bulgian settlements took place and the help many Albanians here in the north and Greeks in the south provided. These stories have been passed down from father to son for genreations spanning back to 900 AD when the Bulgarians came.

    Respect can only be acheived when the racists among the skopjian leadership step down and are replaced by real statesmen. This is also true among our indigenous people who harbour prejudices against their Slavic neighbours they should also step down.

    The skopjian government needs a new enlightened body of Slavs and indigenous Albanian politicians which have not the likes of the racist attitudes that exist there today.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 26, 2012 at 3:23 am
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    Peter, are you aware that the genetic study you site has been found to be fraudulent and is therfore unpublished? No jourmal will acredit it and some world renowned geneticists have even come out to say that the findings are absurd. The authors of your study are not geneticists, but acouple unscupulous hacks who were hired by the FYROM government. Your government manufactures fake DNA and history. Next thing we will see from you is a copy and paste of the Rosetta Stone fabrication lol
    Are you not the least bit ashamed that the basis of your identity has been proven to be a hoax?

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 26, 2012 at 3:29 am
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    The Greeks in the province of Macedonia see themselves as Macedonians. Why should FYROM monopolise the name and identity? Don’t you see the hypocrisy of wanting to have others honour your identity while you dishonour theirs?
    There are a few thousand Greeks living in FYROM…they are true Macedonians. When will FYROM recognise the Macedonian minority in their country?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      July 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm
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      I will answere both of your questions(Sam&Akron)
      First to get one item out of the way is;According to the father of Bulgarian history Bohzidar Dimitrov,”the Bulgarians came from Bahtria,next he said,they might be from Persia and not from Volga”,this is his statement.Furtheremore,the Bulgarians were none existant when the Macedonians were.

      Here is furthere statement of Mario Alineis for the Greek absurd claim;”Here is a suggestion for the Greeks,how about DNA tests on the remains of the Royal Macedonian Tombs,uncovered and desecrated by”Greeks” in todays occupied Macedonia?
      Follow this up with genetic tests on modern Greek and Macedonian population…we will soon see the truth!”

      The following would be for both of you very educated individuals of the Balkan history where Alinei continues;”In summation…Ethnic,yes todays Ethnic Macedonians cannot possibly be of the Old Mediterean substratum if they were Slavs arriving in the Balkans in 6th century as the 19th century Western construct asserts!!
      Todays ethnic Macedonians are AUTHOCTHONOUS to Macedonia,it is very simple! Their language,unintelligable to the ancient Greeks,was a form of proto Macedonian/Slav,which then spread outward,becoming more complex as it moved further away from Macedonia.Countless proto Macedonian letters unearthed on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia(and no doubt in Pirin and Aegean Macedonia)though the respective occupiers have no doubt concealed them from the world because it does not fit their lies,attest to this fact!”
      Akron,when the Athens museum curator suggested to display the ancient Macedonian findings in Kutlesh in its original findings,he was fired.That suggests,the Greeks are falsifying the writtings that go with its findings to suggest they were written in ancient Greek.
      Sam,I remain on my previous comment about the Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia,also as the previous commentator suggested to you!

      Yesterday,the Secretary General of the UN said:”Macedonia is a beatiful country,I learned about Macedonia in my school years.”When he was asked about Human Rights,he said”You don’t have to compromise your identity”.
      We will read Greeces reaction today,won’t we?.
      Both of you,have a great day!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    July 26, 2012 at 3:48 pm
    Permalink

    Peter, your view of history isn’t based on any archeological fact. It is like you base your identity on something someone said at a Skopje coffee shop.

    Show me an example of ancient Macedonian writing that was not Greek.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm
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    The Secretary General was right. You don’t have to compromise your Bulgarian identity. When you change your name you will not be compromising a thing.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 27, 2012 at 1:20 am
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    Peter is a lost cause to the nationalist propaganda of Gruevski regime.. The focus of Greeks should be on FYROM’s apologists.

    Frankly speaking anyone that dishonestly pretends they don’t notice FYROM’s sudden change into “Ancient Macedonians” should be called out as a Greek-hating bigot (manipulatively trying to cover up their shame for referencing FYROM as “Macedonians” against Greek objection)

    The ones that actually care about principles above their egos care about the human rights of Greeks too… and also remember what FYROM’s own government officials used to assure them about their sacred “Macedonian” identity.

    ‘We are not related to the northern Greeks who produced leaders like Philip and Alexander the Great. We are a Slav people and our language is closely related to Bulgarian.’ – FYROM´s Ambassador to Canada Gyordan Veselinov, Ottawa Citizen Newspaper, February 24 1999

    “We are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century … We are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians” – Kiro Gligorov, FYROM’s first President, Foreign Information Service Daily Report, Eastern Europe, February 26, 1992 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBB8UjOHG_8

    ‘We do not claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great.’ – FYROM’S Ambassador Ljubica Acevshka, speech to US representatives in Washington on January 22 1999

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 27, 2012 at 8:53 am
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    Please Mr Peter stop embarrasing yourself and your people with this very naive, and quite frankly simplistic statements.

    # 1 – This Bahtria you speak of is in Afghanistan

    # 2 – Most of the Slavs of FYROM continue today to use West-Bulgarian dialect and surnames only that you put a -ski on end.

    # 3 – This DNA argument Mr Peter is very poor at best very, very desperate.

    The indigenous people of the Balkans are the descendents of the Illyrains, Paeonians, and Thracians. To the south of the Balkans are the Greek tribes. The indigenous people of FYROM who are the Albanians, are descendants of the Illyrians and Paeonians. These people have been living in the Balkans for the last 3000 years.

    When your Bulgarian ancestors came in 700-900 AD they were, luckily for them, easily assimilated into the Balkan culture of the region adopting our cuisines, clothing, songs, dances, and customs. Today many of the skopjian leadership still dance the traditional Balkan dances their forefathers found here when they first settled. Many of the peasant Slavic women dress in traditional Albanian clothes. Even at their weddings the Slavic peasant women still use the old Illyrian custom of attaching coins to the wedding dress.

    Don’t forget Mr Peter the skopjian authorities have made one big mistake. They think that they can invent culture by building it out of concrete and iron. But the reality is just like the DNA hoax of your trusted Mario it is all but highly subjective and only easily consumable by the most naive and especially those who really want to be something they have always fantasised.

    I’m sure our country is beautiful to the UN reps. but they also know of human rights issues and of rampant racism among many in the skopjian leadership.

    Your knowledge of the Balkans Mr Peter is as I said before only skin deep. You should look elsewhere for concrete evidence before you recycle other’s assumptive research.

    When we took your Slavic ancestors in they came with animal skins on their backs from the Ukraine areas. Here in the Balkans the Illyrian lands (FYROM) in the north and Greek lands in the south your ancestors received the one big gift that gave your Slavic ancestors hope and that was civilisation.

    Respect is part of the civilised Mr Peter! The racist attitudes in the skopjian government continue to impair this beautiful country (as the Un rep. mentioned). But without respect insecurity becomes the norm and when we become the majority in a few years and become the new skopjian authorities who knows what our nationalists will do. Probably behave like your racists, who knows?

    An old Albanian saying Mr. Peter, ‘attitudes need to change before respect,’ maybe you can learn something while you attend our classes here.

    Reply

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