Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Coseski: Nimetz has much to say to the Security Council

Zoran Coseski moved to remote Australia as a child back in 1970. He finished primary, secondary and higher education in Perth and he is regarded as one of the most respected Macedonians on the continent. He is a longtime activist in the Macedonian community, and because of that in 2007 he became Honorary Consul of Macedonia in Australia's federal state of Western Australia.

You are one of the public figures who insist that Macedonia should not make any compromise over the name, a compromise as required by Greece and other countries. What compromise should Macedonia make? Some Macedonian public figures consider that the name talks within the UN should be stopped.

COSESKI: In 1991-1992, Greece delivered three observations to the international public as reasons for the non-recognition of the Republic of Macedonia as an independent state: 1. Change of the name, flag and the Constitution because, according to them, these three points would protect the territorial integrity of their state. I am wondering how come a country which is a member of the largest military alliance in the world and a member of one of the largest economic communities in the world is afraid of the Republic of Macedonia. According to this logic, I have been thinking and asking myself a tough question, and that is – is there really a concern of a real threat to Greece, or it is about as we, the Macedonians, call it Greece’s defiance to represent this as a problem on the international scene just because it can, wants and has listeners. On the other hand, the International Court of Justice in The Hague passed a very important judgement that confirmed that the name Republic of Macedonia does not imply any territorial claims. Besides, on December 5, 2011 the International Court of Justice, which is a body of the United Nations, delivered a judgement according to which the Hellenic Republic has violated Article 11 of the Interim Accord of September 1995 by vetoing Macedonia’s accession to NATO. World famous analysts confirm that if a country has territorial claims, it will have claims no matter what it is called and I see no logic in the argument that changing the name of a state would protect the territorial integrity of another state. And in this case, not only Greece is super military and economic power compared to Macedonia, it is a member of NATO and the European Union, which guarantees its territorial integrity.

The paradox of the whole argument, after all, it seems to be contained in writer George Bernard Shaw’s saying: “Do as I say, not as I do”. It is unclear why the international community, especially the US and the EU, has deliberately chosen to ignore the ruling of the International Court of Justice for their own political purposes. It is a great shame for the international community because, on one hand, it gives great importance to the rule of law in Macedonia in all reports, while on the other hand, it ignores the ruling of the International Court of Justice. It is an even greater shame that most members of the United Nations, around 130 countries, including the United States, Russia, China, India, the UK, Canada, Hungary etc., recognize us under the constitutional name. I do not see that anything bad happened to Greece for the past 23 years because most of the countries in the world recognize us as the Republic of Macedonia.

The European Union is not competent to help Macedonia in its Euro-Atlantic integration because itself does not follow their own principles and rules, not many of the countries in Europe think in European way. First they see their direct interests, for example, everyone is first German, British, French, etc., and then European. The United States is the only world power that can, of course if it wants, help Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, its accession to NATO in particular. If we look at NATO website, it is written everywhere that Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name, and I wonder why not write the names of the other NATO members that recognize the constitutional name of Macedonia. Among which are the US, the UK, Canada, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia, Poland etc. If we look back at NATO’s past actions, there are good examples in which there was no full consensus of all members over some NATO actions, however, the US arranged those actions to be under the wing of NATO.

The reasons given by Greece that actually the name was territorial claim on Greece, are nothing more than a cover argument that claims that the word Macedonia was Greek, and my answer to that is that the word Macedonia can not be Greek because both words Greece and Greek are English words. They call their own country Ellada and Hellas. Another absurd argument is that Macedonia was Greek in the last 3,000 years. It is an interesting claim from the so-called cradle of democracy because it ignores the fact that in the ancient world there was no country named Greece, there was a Macedonian kingdom with its kings and city-states around Athens that were never called Greece.

After the fall of Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire in 1453, much of what is now called Greece was under Ottoman rule, which lasted until 1821. Even in 1912, during the Balkan Wars, Greece with the use of military force has managed to usurp part of the historic Macedonia, which was part of the Ottoman Empire. Mediator Matthew Nimetz may refer to an article published in 2003 by the opposition leader at the time and current British Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, who in the newspaper “The Guardian” nicely wrote the following: “It was not easy. The reason for the long name is that the Greeks complained vigorously that Macedonia already existed as a region of Greece and so could not be a separate country as well. This seems churlish in the extreme. The Greeks have their own country, their own name and have been showered with financial assistance since joining the EU. These people – the Macedonians – have recently escaped communism and have virtually nothing. And as if Greek pettiness wasn’t enough the Albanians tend to dream of incorporating a large slice of FYR Macedonia into a Greater Albania while the  Bulgarians tend to think of the country as part of a Greater Bulgaria. Yet as far as I could see, the country – and I am determined to call it Macedonia – has a perfect right to exist. The population is overwhelmingly Macedonian, with a distinctive language, culture and history. It is poorer than some of the other old Yugoslav republics, but considerably richer than Albania. The people are civilised, friendly and highly educated. Even my tour guide had an MBA. It is always difficult to know how to answer the question: “What will you do to help us?” But on this occasion, I had the answer. From now on I will call our esteemed EU partner “the former Ottoman possession of Greece.”

Zoran-Kjoseski-int123-2

Do you think that Macedonia should try to solve the problem by directly placing the issue before the UN, or the General Assembly, which, according to some experts, the country could be registered under its constitutional name and get support  by the majority of members of the world organization?

COSESKI: I am deeply convinced that it’s time the ambassador of the United Nations, Matthew Nimetz, to inform the Security Council that all three Greek observations over their so-called security are already adequately addressed by Macedonia and that there is nothing left to discuss because, as in the English countries say, “Both sides agree to disagree”, on the issue related to our identity. But on the other hand, it will have to be pointed out that the major investors in Macedonia are the Greek and that the most numerous tourists in northern Greece are the Macedonians from the Republic of Macedonia, which means that the trade and economic relations are excellent.

We need to be realistic that such move requires the political will of the United States, which, I believe, it has already understood that if Macedonia changes its name, it will open other Balkan appetites, causing destabilization in the region, which is important not only for the European interests, but the interests of the United States. I think it’s time Ambassador Nimetz to advise the UN Security Council over the following facts:

  • Since 1991 the Republic of Macedonia has been no security threat to Greece, nor at the time when the Socialist Republic of Macedonia was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  • A great majority of the Member States of the United Nations accepted the name of the state as the Republic of Macedonia.
  • There are many other bilateral issues in the world, but they are not used as an excuse for blocking the accession of a country in other international bodies.
  • Macedonia and Greece agree to disagree on the issue of Macedonian identity.
  • Economic and trade relations between Macedonia and Greece are excellent, and Greece is the largest foreign investor in Macedonia and the Macedonians are the most numerous tourists in northern Greece.
  • The mediator may also refer to an interview published in the newspaper “Financial Times” on July 4, 2007 by the Greek Ambassador to Macedonia at the time, Dora Grosomanidou, who said that Greece needs to accept the reality about Macedonia.

Could you explain the fact that the diaspora is most radical in trying to preserve the constitutional name, even at the risk Macedonia not to join NATO and the EU because of Greece’s veto?

COSESKI: First of all, the Macedonian diaspora is breathing alongside its spiritual homeland, the Republic of Macedonia. It is well known that there are thousands of people with their specific ethnic characteristics living in the world today, of which only 87 different nations live in 50 European countries, meaning all nations in the world do not have their own state, and we, the Macedonians have a state that every Macedonian is proud of. Let me remind you of the historical fact that we, the Macedonians did not surrender when we did not have a state, so why surrender today when we have a state with all the attributes? If in the 19th century existed the so-called Macedonian issue, today exists a Macedonian response to that issue.

Zoran-Kjoseski-int123-3

Macedonia has a large diaspora that helps as much as it can, but if compared to the Greek, Serbian, Armenian and many other nations like us, you will notice that there is room for a connection in terms of political and even economic assistance. Macedonians in the world are reluctant to invest in the country even now when many world famous companies decided to do that attracted by the favourable investment packages offered by the Macedonian Government. How is the situation in Macedonia seen from overseas? How many of our compatriots, for example, return home to continue working in their native country?

COSESKI: Today the diaspora has successful Macedonians in all fields, and they are also our best ambassadors of the Macedonian being in the world. Macedonia must continue with its engagement through all the relevant state institutions to intensify the relations with the Macedonians in the diaspora who are already entering the second and the third generation born not only in diaspora, but also in highly developed Western countries.

If we consider the facts from the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia, foreign capital from the very diaspora is very important. In this context we must take into account the tourism visits to Macedonia by its emigrants, for example, About 14 thousand tourists from Australia visit Macedonia annually. That, however, is a strong contribution to the Macedonian tourism industry.

In Macedonia there are good examples of economic investment from the diaspora, especially in hotel management and catering facilities in Bitola, Ohrid and Kavadarci.

There are also good examples of cooperation with Macedonian companies, for example, “Vitaminka” in Prlep, “Tikves” and others who exported to the Australian market.

I urge all Macedonians in the diaspora who have their own visions and ideas to enhance this cooperation to contact their representatives in the Macedonian Parliament and to work out the issue in favor of the Macedonian cause.

On the continent where you are Honorary Consul of the Republic of Macedonia for decades there is a rather shameful division between Macedonians due to religious, specifically due to financial and property issues. How come nearly 10 million dollars were spent during court proceedings, which, for example, could help Macedonia in opening new jobs or other assistance? Is there a chance to calm down the situation in Australia between MOC-OA and the group that does not accept to be under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Petar.

KOSESKI: First, we need to understand that in Australia apply Australian laws and therefore we should ask a lawyer over the legal interpretation of the issue, and in terms of the religious view of the issue we should ask a cleric of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, but one thing is clear, regardless of their opinions, everyone involved is Macedonian and we as a country do not have people for throwing, in our interest, as a country and as a nation, is to have peace and understanding in the Macedonian community.

The problem must be solved and as far as I know MOC is making every effort to overcome all legal cases in Australia, which would return the Macedonian community in harmony and that energy can be used to positively enhance our state interests with strong Macedonian community in Australia.

I hope that the ultimate solution to this problem, which has been negative burdening the Macedonian community in Australia for over 20 years, is not far. It is human to err, but its is Christian to forgive and move forward for the good of the Macedonian cause.

What are the real chances Australia to recognize Macedonia under its constitutional name, or, as some of the fellowmen there say, we should first wait for Australia to become independent from Britain.

KOSESKI: Australia, unfortunately, is one of the few countries that still recognize the Republic of Macedonia under the offending reference FYROM. But if we look a little deeper, the Australian Government funds the state radio SBS, which regularly broadcasts programs in Macedonian language, SBS TV re-broadcasts MRT Dnevnik in Macedonian language on a daily basis, which clearly states that it is from Macedonia. The Australian Government funds the largest English-Macedonian dictionary so far published by the Australian National University, etc. Numerous state institutions publish information in Macedonian language, so from that point of view the Macedonian community is highly regarded by the Australian government.

Lately, according to my knowledge, Australian politicians have visited Macedonia more than any country in the region and if you see their speeches and addresses, our  constitutional name is used everywhere.

I am deeply convinced that it is a matter of time, and not whether Australia will join the other 128 countries in the world that recognize us under our constitutional name, including the US, the UK, Canada, China, Malaysia, Russia, Indonesia, etc.

 

By: Goran Momiroski