Monday, 18 December 2017 | News today: 14

Sela: Ohrid Framework Agreement is dead

We interviewed mayor of Struga, Zijadin Sela, ahead of the marking of the 13th anniversary of the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, and, of course, after the protests due to the "Monster" case

ziadin sela

You were in the forefront among those who led the protests for “Monster”. In the backdrop of the protests it is said that there has been an initiative for a new political party of the ethnic Albanians in Macedonia. Are you are part of that initiative group that would unite a new membership?

SELA: I am not the only one in the range of politicians in the country that “lead” the citizens! I have been president of the branch for several years, president of DPA’s branch for few years, MPs list carrier in the fifth constituency, candidate for mayor of Struga and now mayor of the same municipality. That is what we do, the politicians, we lead people to vote, to support certain political platform, to legitimize the policies that we create. We are always in the forefront when we ask something from them, and it is high time we are in the forefront when they demand something from us. When they protest, for example. There is another symbol in my participation and the participation of like-minded people in the protest. We show the representatives of the people who are in the opposition, DPA’s president, my fellow MPs, where they should be. Besides the people, not to vote VMRO-DPMNE-DUI government. If DUI has obtained mandates to be part of the executive government, DPA has obtained mandates to be with people, primarily, when they are not satisfied. To lead them on behalf of justice, given that the opposition is the moral power of the citizens, and to prevent protests from spiraling out of control.

And my position over your question, I have said it several times publicly and will repeat it. I am for internal reforms in DPA, rather than forming a new political party, or Mr. Thaci’s resignation as DPA’s leader and calling a Congress, which would make DPA more organized, fair, strong and winning political option in the Albanian political bloc.

In order to demonstrate in whose hands is the party, Thaci brought together at an iftar dinner all presidents of branches and sub-branches. How much support do you get from DPA and the Albanian population ?

SELA: Thaci does not want to admit that he has lost his credibility among the Albanian voters and he trying all sorts of tricks to maintain a position of an eternal opposition among the Albanians. The iftar dinner and the attempt to show that the membership stands behind him are no different from the meetings that he held in “Sushico”during the election campaign,  as well as his strange claims that DPA will be part of the government at any cost, even if it has only one MP. All these tricks are aimed at his personal survival in the political stage, all at the cost of creating false expectations among the Albanians. Such behavior throughout the years never praised him personally, but made ​​him a liar, who has contributed to DPA’s defeat in every election cycle.

In truth, Thaci did not have presidents of branches and sub-branches at the iftar dinner, but members of his family and the families of his bodyguards. I can not understand why the mister wants to create a false impression and image that always faces a debacle. I count on the support of all that were not at Thaci’s iftar dinner! And they are many. In also count on the support of those who were at his iftar dinner! Ultimately, it is the only way how Thaci can be part of the government with only one MP (if he himself stays) because then VMRO will not mind to have him as part of the government because he will represent nothing, and DUI needs another vote for commenced constitutional changes, at the behest of VMRO.

We talked about forming a new party, so I will have to ask you about the relations with your recent friends from DPA. What are your relations with Menduh Thaci?

SELA: I do not communicate with Mr. Thaci. And I will not communicate with him until he publicly apologizes to me for his slanderous accusations. And, after the elections I plan to call Mr. Thaci and Mr. Ali Ahmeti at a joint meeting, when the movement for reforms in the DPA will win.

How do you assess the cooperation in the government between DUI and VMRO-DPMNE? What is your experience with DUI? Dis they contact you for cooperation, to join them after your quarrel with Thaci?

SELA: You think that the quarrel with Thaci is because of personal vanity? You are wrong. Thaci secures victory for DUI and Mr. Ali Ahmeti at every election cycle. I claim that Mr. Ahmeti will go in opposition as soon as the process of internal reforms in DPA is completed. So the answer to your question about whether I would join DUI is “no.” First of all, I respect myself. Secondly, I can not be part of a political option, which, since it stepped the political stage, the only thing it does is selling the interests of the Albanians in Macedonia. At a rather cheap cost indeed.

Apart from your initiative, other new parties in the Albanian bloc have been announced, but they all play the nationalist card, and none offers a better economic platform that will improve the lives of the citizens, from whom they will seek votes. Why?

SELA: I think you are tendentious. You say have been announced, but you already know what kind of political platform they have. It does not make sense, they are not formed yet, and it is still not confirmed whether they will be formed, but you already know that they will be nationalists. If it is as you claim, Macedonia has nothing to fear from Albanian nationalism. You should be afraid of Serbian nationalism because of the dispute with the church, you should be afraid of Greek nationalism because of the identity, you should be afraid of Bulgarian nationalism because of the language. If you think that Albanians are nationalists, then you surely know how many Albanian monuments have been built within the project “Skopje 2014″? And if you think that free technological development zones are economy, then you probably know that there are not any in Western Macedonia because Macedonia’s political parties have no economic platform, but nationalistic. And this kind of nationalism is more risky for Macedonia than all previously mentioned.

What is more important for the Albanian citizens at the moment, better standard or courtship with imaginary projects of national unification?

SELA: The European Union is not an imaginary project, and Albanians are not an obstacle to EU  membership. And the EU means better standard and real project of national unification of all nations.

You are part of the legal order in the country, you are a mayor, where law and order are enforced. How, if you form a new party, would you react if there are any violent protests in front of the court, just like now, and you are part of the government?

SELA: Those protesters are seeking justice, transparency, dignity. All three things mentioned are the values ​​of democracy. I would not say there were violent protests in front of the court because the institution for which you are saying is court is partisan and national headquarters of the Macedonian political parties directed against Albanians. And, that has been proven many times now. It is not just “Monster”, do not forget about  “Sopot”, “Rashtanski Vineyards”, the so-called “Hague cases,” and for comparison you have the latest decisions of the so-called courts for the Macedonian protesters in Gorce Petrov, who were fined from probation on one hand, and, on the other hand, you have the Albanian protesters who are punished with maximum sentences. The former have set on fire entire properties and assets of Albanian people due to ethnic hatred directed at an entire nation, while the latter  broke windows of an institution that is directed against them.

If you want to know what would I do, I will answer that I will not be part of a government that stages political processes on the people to whom I belong, and any other entity in the country. I will not be part of a government that judge differently when it comes to Albanians and when it comes to Macedonians. I despise government that reimburses properties of Macedonians, but does do the same with the properties of the Albanians etc.. And to your hypothetical question, I will answer hypothetically as well – if something happened from the above mentioned things and I was part of the government, I would leave the government the same day and would be protesting with the people in a much more dramatic form than the one we saw recently.

What is interesting is that after the protests everybody condemned the violence, as well as the signs of organizations and countries in the Middle East with religious background. Then on one of the following protests there were not such symbols as well as the usual setting of flags and symbols of the United States or NATO, for example? How do you interpret that, as a matter of compromise?

SELA: The police action was also condemned. There were also videos of a citizen who led the protests at the beginning, but then was throwing stones from the side of the police at the protesters. Displaying signs of the Middle East should be condemned, I condemn such things, which are suspected of being infiltrated by people by the services, because they were wearing masks. In the subsequent protests there were always flags of the United States, and in terms pf what you say about some sort of compromise, I say that it can not be a matter of compromise something that is vital for the Albanians. And that is the United States, NATO and the EU.

We said that we do this interview ahead of the 13th anniversary of the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement. So, what do you think of the agreement? Are you going to participate in the activities envisaged for the observance?

SELA: The Ohrid Agreement does not mark its 13th anniversary this year, but 10 years of a memorial over something that died in 2004. I think where to lay flowers to mark the day! Most credit should be given to Parliament and the Government, while DUI’s leader, Mr. Ahmeti deserves the biggest bouquet.

How much is the Framework Agreement respected in Struga, where you are the mayor?

SELA: The general conclusion is that the Ohrid Agreement is not respected, and Struga Municipality can not be an exception to this general conclusion, that every year we also get as a remark in EU’s report. Struga can be a perfect evidence of the dysfunctionality of the Ohrid Agreement, and it will give you an example. Thirteen years after the signing of the Ohrid Agreement, not a single name of street has been changed in Struga . As a result, we have streets that are named since the time of Yugoslavia and the former system. As, for example, JNA, Josip Broz Tito, Marx Engels, Proletarian brigades, Partizanska … And not a single street with a name of some Albanian can be found in a city where the majority is Albanian. That happens because of the mechanism that was adopted to prevent outvoting the smaller ethnic communities, i.e. the Badinter principle has been transformed into a mechanism that does not allow the smaller ethnic communities to realize certain rights in areas where they are the majority. Now, imagine the absurdity! Those who build a national state, those that are in absolute number of employees in the state administration, those that have an official language in the country (Macedonians) when needed to prevent something, act like a minority in the local government, which is literary centralized in all aspects. Moreover,  the Framework Agreement is just keeping the status quo, and oppressing the Albanians and other smaller ethnic communities. If you ask how much fair representation is respected in Struga, I say that Macedonians prevail much more than their percent of total population living in Struga, even with more than 50 percents everywhere. In the regional institutions of the central government in Struga they are present with more than 90 percents, which is wrong, right?

Let’s go back to politics. Ahead of us is a period in which the focus will be again towards European integration and the relations with Greece. A new page in the process with Nimitz is expected from the Berlin summit. What are your expectations?

SELA: Politics has been made with something of vital character for the state and the citizens of Macedonia. The fact that VMRO-DPMNE was ready to change the name before the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008, but it is not willing to compromise now, proves that its’s firm position over the name brings good political points among the Macedonian population. So, I do not expect anything different from what we have seen so far and that is how is going to be as long as Nikola Gruevski plans to win the elections.

 

By: Naum Stoilkovski