Saturday, 20 October 2018 | News today: 6

Ivanov calls on Trump, Erdogan and Tusk to condemn the Tirana platform

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President Gjorge Ivanov sent a letter to the President of the United States Donald Trump, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, to the Council members, to NATO Secretary General Jens Stontenberg and to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which he informs them about the developments regarding the Tirana platform and asks them to condemn it for the sake of regional stability. The Tirana platform is a program of political demands by three Macedonian parties that represent mainly ethnic Albanians, which was drafted in Tirana, under the leadership of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

President Ivanov informs EU, NATO and the two main Macedonian strategic partners – the United States and Turkey – about the political crisis, and the negotiations that led to early elections in December 2016.

“Instead of the elections helping us exit the crisis and allowing us to focus on the urgent reform priorities, we again found ourselves in a deep political crisis. Under the tutorship of Edi Rama three of the four parties of Macedonian Albanians, with 18 out of 120 members of Parliament, drafted a platform for Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia. The Tirana platform now serves are a pre-condition to form a Government in Macedonia. It is a post-election document adopted in a foreign country in the office of a foreign politician under the tutorship of the Prime Minister of a foreign country. This platform jeopardizes the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Macedonia and puts it in a subservient position or position of dependence under a foreign country. Implementation of this platform would include changes to the Macedonian Constitution that would endanger the unitary character of the country, and it violates the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which regulates inter-ethnic relations. It is discriminatory against other ethnic groups in Macedonia, putting one of them in a privileged position. The Tirana platform has a destabilizing effect and increases inter-ethnic tensions in the Republic of Macedonia”, President Ivanov said.

President Ivanov refused to give a mandate to form the next Government to Zoran Zaev, the leader of the Social-Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), after he accepted elements of the platform and said that he will work for its full implementation. NATO and EU officials as well as the State Department called on Ivanov to give the mandate to Zaev. The platform demands that the Albanian language is made an official language across the whole of Macedonia, asks for changes to the national emblems, veto rights for Albanians over public spending, changing of the name of Macedonia and an apology for genocide against Albanians.

In his letter, President Ivanov notes that the statements from official representatives of Albania and Kosovo have negative effect on inter-ethnic relations and on stability in the Western Balkans. “Given that it has the character of an ultimatum and blackmail, this platform has brought us in a stalemate that is difficult to exit. I made my decision not to designate a mandate holder based on Article 84, item 1 of the Constitution, and I will not do so with anyboy who negotiates on a platform that blackmails the Macedonian people, endangers the unitary character of the state, its sovereignty and independence. As President, I’m duty bound to respect the Constitution and the laws, and to protect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the Republic of Macedonia. I have informed Commissioner Hahn and high representative Mogherini of my positions and I called on them to publicly condemn and renounce the platform, as an act of interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country and a step that destabilizes us further and opens us to internal political, inter-ethnic and possibly geo-political influences”, President Ivanov writes in its letter that was made public on Tuesday.

President Ivanov also expresses his belief that the Tirana platform undermines the Przino agreement, reached between the four largest parties in Macedonia, with mediation from the European Union and the United States.

“I believe that only by condemning and rejecting his document, we can get out of the dead-end situation we are now in. It is the only way to achieve the goals of the Przino agreement and the urgent reform priorities, to achieve political stabilization, reduce inter-party and inter-ethnic tensions and to return the Republic of Macedonia on its European and Euro-Atlantic path. In this context, I call on you to examine carefully the reality we are faced with and to push for the public rejection and condemnation of this damaging platform by the European Union and NATO, and their member states. Furthermore, I expect that you will condemn the blatant interference of two of our neighbors, who aspire for full European Union membership, in our internal affairs. Finally, I expect that you will send a strong message to our geo-politically fragile region that will affirm the inviolability of the borders, to re-affirm the European and Euro-Atlantic perspective for the countries of the region. Lack of public condemnation of the Tirana platform by the international community can only encourage other similar attempts in our, but also in other regions of Europe that have a similarly complex ethnic, religious and linguistic reality”, President Ivanov concludes in his letter.