VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski says that the worst thing to come out of his televised debate with Zoran Zaev on Tuesday evening was how the Prime Minister of Macedonia was afraid to acknowledge that there are ethnic Macedonians living in northern Greece / Aegean Macedonia, and that they speak Macedonian.
He was afraid, he was sweating, he was fumbling, he is afraid to tell us what language are these people using. He tells me, you’ll get me in trouble with the Greeks. In the village of Ovcarane they sing in Macedonian, they sing Macedonian songs. Is it so difficult to say that?, Mickoski said.
Zaev is not the first Government official to twist into knots when asked to comment on the Macedonian minority in Greece. His Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, who himself is Aegean Macedonian and his spokesman Mile Bosnjakovski were similarly stumped on the issue. The Prespa treaty which Zaev and Dimitrov signed with Greece forbids Macedonia to interfere in Greek internal affairs, and under Zaev’s reading of the treaty, even acknowledging the native born Macedonian community in what is now northern Greece is forbidden.
Mickoski spoke in Novo Selo near Strumica, where he met with VMRO supporters. The area of Novo Selo is where a large new copper mine is under construction. Zaev’s SDSM party cooperated with local green organizations to protest the opening of the mine and promised it will not be built if the local citizens vote for SDSM. Now Zaev’s Government is approving the opening of the mine.
Now the same person comes and tells you that the mine will be your salvation. It’s a Munchausen syndrome, did he lie to you then, or now? I will tell you what it’s all about – there are some people who already purchased the trucks which they intend to use to transport the ore. It’s all about the money with him, Mickoski said.