FINANCIAL AID FOR SKOPJE PROVIDED NAME ISSUE IS RESOLVED
MIC – September 11, 2013 – 2:14pm

After having heard the positions of the Greek authorities to his latest, April proposal for resolution of the name issue, Matthew Nimetz, the UN mediator in the dispute, arrived in Skopje Tuesday with the same goal.

“I came to hear the stands to my latest ideas for a possible solution to the name issue,” Nimetz said on his arrival, adding he expected a good meeting in Macedonia.

Mr. Nimetz started the working part of his visit Tuesday with a meeting with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov and is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki on Wednesday.

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NAME ISSUE MEDIATOR NIMETZ CLEARLY SEES WHAT GREECE WANTS
MIC – September 10, 2013 – 2:44pm

UN-appointed name issue mediator Matthew Nimetz was informed about the Greek positions to his latest April proposal for resolution of the name issue between Macedonia and Greece at his meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos in Athens on Monday and now, he said, he clearly understands the position of the Greek authorities.

“Minister Evangelos presented to me the general positions in the negotiations, the position of the government, as well as some detailed remarks about the ideas I presented, in terms of which are acceptable and which are not, and what changes can make them acceptable to Greece. Venizelos was very clear. We had a very constructive meeting, because now I have very clearly understood the position of the Greek government,” Nimetz said after the meeting.

Asked whether the authorities in Skopje are going to accept the modifications that Athens wants, he briefly said he should first come to Skopje.

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Flash News
MIC – September 10, 2013 – 8:45am

- Mediator Matthew Nimetz confirmed Monday in Athens that he does not bring a new proposal for the name dispute but that he is coming with a mission to check the positions of Skopje and Athens. According to Nimetz, these are very difficult negotiations and the most important thing is for every side to understand the positions of the other side. On Wednesday, Nimetz is to pay a visit to Skopje to meet with the Macedonian state leadership.

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Flash News
MIC – September 5, 2013 – 8:20am

- Croatia is to protect the consensus at the EU Summit in December and meanwhile it will wait for the political agreement between Macedonia and Greece, said Croatian President Ivo Josipovic at the meeting with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov. Josipovic said that his country is monitoring the efforts that Macedonia is making to meet all criteria for EU and NATO membership but on the other hand stressed that Croatia is also nourishing excellent relations with Greece. President Ivanov, ahead of Nimetz’s visit, stated that Macedonia is always prepared for talks with the mediator.

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NIMETZ TO LOOK FOR ANSWERS IN ATHENS AND SKOPJE NEXT WEEK
MIC – September 4, 2013 – 12:59pm

Name issue mediator Matthew Nimetz is going to pay a visit to Macedonia and Greece next week, the office of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy, confirmed.

According to unconfirmed information, Nimetz is first going to visit Athens and then Skopje.

The name issue talks intensified at the onset of 2013. In early January, mediator Nimetz visited both Macedonia and Greece and for the first time in 20 years saw an opportunity for resolution of the dispute. Later that month, he also met the negotiators of Macedonia and Greece, Zoran Jolevski and Adamantios Vassilakis, in New York.

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Flash News
MIC – September 4, 2013 – 10:10am

- President of the Republic of Croatia Ivo Josipovic on Wednesday and Thursday is to pay an official visit to Macedonia. According to announcements, Josipovic is to meet with the state leadership but also with representatives of the Croatian community in Macedonia.

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Flash News
MIC – September 3, 2013 – 8:30am

- PM Nikola Gruevski sent a letter to EU Commissioner Stefan Fule in which he informs Fule about the outcome of the talks held in the inquiry commission involving the events of 24 December. Gruevski informed Fule in details about all aspects of the report and stressed that VMRO-DPMNE stands behind the implementation of the recommendations. Gruevski believes that these efforts will be fairly recognized by the upcoming European Commission's report on Macedonia's progress and result in setting a date for launching of the country’s accession talks in the near future.

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Flash News
MIC – September 2, 2013 – 9:10am

-    BDI leader Ali Ahmeti, Deputy Prime Minister Musa Xhaferi and Artan Grubi, Ahmeti’s Chief of Staff, are scheduled to meet Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos in Athens Monday. BDI informed this meeting was a follow-up to the intensive campaign they have launched regarding Macedonia’s integration into the EU and NATO.

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Flash News
MIC – August 30, 2013 – 8:15am

- Ilija Dimovski from VMRO-DPMNE is to chair the working group which is tasked with realizing the recommendations of the ad-hoc commission in the Parliament. Except for him, Blagorodna Dulic from VMRO-DPMNE, Cvetanka Ivanova and Igor Ivanovski from SDSM and Nexhati Jakupi from BDI are part of the group. PDSH will not take part in the working group as it considers that the events of 24 December were imposed.  Nevertheless, there are no deadlines for realizing the recommendations but the parties agreed to start working as soon as possible.

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Flash News
MIC – August 29, 2013 – 10:35am

-    Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski is going to hold a meeting Thursday with the deputy speakers and the coordinators of the parliamentary groups with the aim of establishing a working group to put into effect the 11 recommendations of the 24 December inquiry committee. Despite criticisms that the report does not include direct indications of constitutional violations nor does it pinpoint political responsibility, Radmila Sekerinska, vice president of SDSM, says she is satisfied with the outcome. “What is important is that VMRO-DPMNE signed capitulation and admitted what the opposition has claimed over the past eight months,” she says.  Her view is identical to that of Ljubomir Frckoski, member of the committee from SDSM, who said that if the committee had defined political responsibility, they would have gone beyond the powers invested in them.

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FINAL REPORT ON THE EVENTS OF 24 DECEMBER SIGNED
MIC – August 26, 2013 – 1:01pm

The ad-hoc commission signed Monday the final report for the events that happened in and outside the Parliament on 24 December 2012. Commission Chairman Borce Davitkovski and members from VMRO-DPMNE Ilija Dimovski and Blagorodna Dulik, as well as Ljubomir Frckoski and Renata Deskovska Trenevska from SDSM, signed the final report.

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Flash News
MIC – August 23, 2013 – 8:11am
struski veceri
 

- With the traditional reading of poem “Longing for the South”, the 52nd Struga Poetry Evenings were opened Thursday. This year’s laureate of the festival is renowned Mexican poet Jose Emilio Pacheco, who despite his age, arrived in Struga to receive his award.

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EARLY ELECTIONS BY EITHER GRUEVSKI’S OR AHMETI AND ZAEV’S MODEL?
MIC – August 22, 2013 – 12:54pm

Unless the inquiry committee into the 24 December incident produces conclusions by Friday, a “new strategy” would be applied, according to Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s earlier statement, which many interpret as heralding early parliamentary elections. However, based on the party officials’ statements over the past two months, it is evident that all wish to shun elections. VMRO-DPMNE stress that they would call them only if they have to. BDI insist that time should not be wasted in this way, as SDSM is in favor of elections provided the election legislation is aligned with the recommendations of the OSCE of 2011. Nevertheless, the possibility of holding early elections is constantly in the air, Nova Makedonija comments.

When it comes to calling early parliamentary elections, there are two scenarios, the paper says. In the first and more likely one, it would be governing VMRO-DPMNE to call them. According to the second one, political parties in Parliament may regroup to form a new majority whose only purpose would be to conduct the poll. It is speculated that the second scenario would be prompted by BDI and SDSM so they would make sure the results are objective, bearing in mind SDSM’s incessant accusations that VMRO-DPMNE is pressurizing and manipulating voters, and also in order for them to try and win enough parliamentary seats to form their own governing coalition regardless of the number of votes VMRO-DPMNE polls.

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PARTY LEADERS GET INVOLVED IN INQUIRY COMMITTEE’S WORK TO HELP REACH COMPROMISE ON TIME
MIC – August 21, 2013 – 1:03pm

After a month-long impasse, the committee of inquiry into the parliamentary incident of 24 December resumed operations Tuesday. Ilija Dimovski and Blagorodna Dulik from VMRO-DPMNE, Renata Deskovska and Ljubomir Frckoski from SDSM, together with Nikola Gruevski and Zoran Zaev, leaders of VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM respectively, as well as Radmila Sekerinska, vice president of SDSM, and Martin Protogjer, Gruevski’s Chief of Staff, met at the Club of MPs and discussed the possible ways of resolving the political gridlock threatening to complicate further Macedonia’s European integration. The meeting that lasted for four hours was also attended by chairman Borce Davitkovski, who has recently resigned, and by the two foreign observers.

Although the meeting began in a laidback atmosphere, tension rose over time resulting in frequent breaks during which Gruevski and Zaev consulted their associates, Dnevnik reports.

Both Gruevski and Zaev entered the meeting as optimists that a compromise would be reached on time.

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AHMETI AND GRUEVSKI COORDINATED ABOUT NAME ISSUE
MIC – August 20, 2013 – 12:58pm

Ernst Reichel, Germany’s special envoy for Southeast Europe, most probably had in mind the position of the Government, when he said during his visit to Macedonia last week that mediator Matthew Nimetz’s name proposal was acceptable to Macedonia and that it all now depended on Greece, Nova Makedonija reports.

This can be concluded from the statement of a BDI source for Nova Makedonija that apart from meeting Musa Xhaferi, Deputy Prime Minister for the Implementation of the Framework Agreement, and Ali Ahmeti and Zoran Zaev, leaders of BDI and SDSM, the German diplomat also met government officials from VMRO-DPMNE.

Last week, Reichel was in Skopje and in a statement for Alsat TV he said the authorities reassured him that they were very much interested in seeking out a solution to the name issue, that the options at the table were acceptable to them and that now it all depended on Greece’s readiness for a compromise.

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EARLY ELECTIONS, GRUEVSKI’S NEW STRATEGY FOR RESOLVING INQUIRY COMMITTEE STALEMATE
MIC – August 19, 2013 – 12:21pm

Unless a solution is found soon so the committee of inquiry responsible to shed light on the parliamentary incident of 24 December can resume operations and adopt a report on time, VMRO-DPMNE is going to employ a new strategy, said Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on Saturday. He is convinced that it is SDSM that blocks the adoption of the committee’s conclusion on which Macedonia’s European integration depends and has once again pointed his finger at Branko Crvenkovski, the recently deposed opposition leader, Utrinski vesnik reports.

The leader of VMRO-DPMNE did not specify what the new strategy would consist of yet it is speculated increasingly more that early parliamentary elections would soon be held. The committee’s block, the hopeless European prospects, the rickety relations in the ruling coalition and the weakness of SDSM still unprepared for an election battle are the arguments of those that favor holding early elections by spring at the latest at the same time with the presidential poll.

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Flash News
MIC – August 19, 2013 – 8:34am

- President Gjorge Ivanov congratulated 18 August, Macedonian Army Day, and added that time would come when Macedonia would finally become a NATO member state considering the Macedonian Army constantly proved its professionalism and dedication. At the moment, over 3,200 Macedonian soldiers are engaged in international peacekeeping missions making significant contribution to securing peace and stability around the world.

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SKOPJE AND SOFIA USE MACEDONIAN SOLDIERS’ DESPAIR TO EXCHANGE HARSH WORDS
MIC – August 16, 2013 – 1:48pm

A few days after Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin said in his interview with the Bulgarian television 24 Casa that it was good that the poor dialogue between the two countries was being stimulated with rational talks rather than with harsh monologues in media, the public in both countries became upset again, this time round over the topic of taking Macedonian soldiers in the Bulgarian army, Nova Makedonija comments.

Nikolay Tsonev, former Bulgarian minister of defense and now leader of the New Alternative political party, denounced Thursday the Bulgarian authorities, which, according to him, are going to let Macedonian soldiers become part of the Bulgarian army only based on their Bulgarian citizenship.

“The reaction and response to the Macedonian soldiers are absurd. To put it mildly, it is incomprehensible to give foreign citizens the responsibility of protecting the fundamental Bulgarian patriotic values,” Tsonev says.

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GREECE BEING AN ISLAND OF STABILITY IS NON-SENSE, SAYS EDWARD JOSEPH
MIC – August 15, 2013 – 1:24pm

What can Macedonia expect of Greece and the USA following Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ visit to Washington? After meeting Samaras, US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden did not mention the name issue directly. Indirectly, however, they appealed for resolution of the Balkan issues although the favored Greek scenario was avoiding difficult national issues altogether, Cvetan Cilimanov, MIA’s Washington-based correspondent, says.

Edward Joseph, former analyst of the International Crisis Group and now Balkan expert at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, says the reason for this should primarily be sought in the extremely dire situation in Greece.

“Samaras’ statements that Greece is an island of stability are nonsense. It is true they carried out reforms yet their internal situation being very serious is still the most important. Debts are not just numbers on a piece of paper. It is hard for me to say this, yet the other issues, such as the name issue, fade away in comparison with the Greek problems. Imagine Greece falling apart. They have a fascist part, the Golden Dawn, a minister of administration, Mitsotakis, who is trying to change completely their administration laying off so many people, and they are still very much indebted. Unless new aid arrives after elections in Germany, Greece faces another financial crisis that threatens the economy of the whole world,” Joseph says and adds that under such circumstances it is good that Obama only alluded to the name issue.

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Flash News
MIC – August 14, 2013 – 8:31am

- Abongo Malik Obama, US President Barack Obama’s brother, is arriving in Skopje Wednesday to receive the Balkan Charter of Peace awarded by the Balkan Club of Peace. According to the portal Press 24, the Balkan Club of Peace is an international organization as the first Charter was awarded to the City of Skopje, Mother Teresa’s home town.

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MACEDONIAN ANALYSTS EXPECT WASHINGTON TO PUT NO PRESSURE ON GREECE
MIC – August 12, 2013 – 1:33pm

A change to the Greek policy toward Macedonia and the name issue following Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ meetings with the US leadership in Washington and UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon in New York is not very likely, Macedonian analysts say. What can be expected, they add, is intensified activities regarding the name issue talks with mediator Matthew NImetz this fall. According to unconfirmed information, Nimetz is to hold a new round to talks with the representatives of Macedonia and Greece, ambassadors Zoran Jolevski and Adamantios Vassilakis, in September, Dnevnik reports.

However, analysts do not expect any pressure from the USA to be put in the meantime, at least not on Athens.

According to Greek media, Samaras stated at the end of his visit to Washington and New York he was “very happy” with the results of his meetings.

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MACEDONIAN-BULGARIAN TALKS – RAILWAY TRACK MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONUMENTS
MIC – July 31, 2013 – 1:59pm

Macedonia is dedicated to enhancing the relations with Bulgaria but wants solutions not to be imposed in the agreement on neighborliness but the two sides to be equal. At the same time, Sofia should not condition its support for Macedonia’s Euro-integration and let alone open questions about the country’s constitution, Macedonian and Bulgarian experts comment, daily Dnevnik writes.

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin stated that the basic differences between the two countries are the ones about the shared history.

“The approach in the negotiations about the agreement is not to impose solutions on force but to aim at a text that the two countries, government and most of all citizens will be comfortable with,” said Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki, adding that it is most important for the citizens from both countries to be connected in an economic and infrastructural way and encourage the most positive climate in the bilateral relations.  

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Flash News
MIC – July 29, 2013 – 8:01am

- Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on Sunday in Kyustendil, Bulgaria met with Bulgarian counterpart Plamen Oresharski at an informal government session between the two countries. The two prime ministers discussed about the development of the good-neighborly relations and boosting the economic cooperation. Bulgarian PM Oresharski stressed that Sofia insists on an agreement on neighborliness and friendship to be signed whereas according to PM Gruevski, the two countries should boost the economic cooperation. During the meeting, ten members of Bulgaria’s VMRO protested near the Municipality of Kyustendil.

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Flash News
MIC – July 26, 2013 – 8:13am

- French President Francois Hollande promised that his country will use the good relations with Greece in order to help solve the name row. According to Hollande, it is a fact that there is a standstill in the name negotiations and it is a fact it cannot be left unsolved. At the first tete-a-tete meeting in Brdo near Kranj with Macedonian President Gjorgje Ivanov, Hollande stressed that the problem is rather complicated and long-standing.

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Flash News
MIC – July 25, 2013 – 10:17am

- President Gjorge Ivanov on Tuesday at Brdo near Kranj in Slovenia is to take part in the Brdo Process Summit. French President Francois Hollande as well as EU representatives are to take part in the meeting and debate about the main problems in the EU and possibilities of the region’s EU integration.

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POPOSKI: ASHTON, FULE AND LINKEVICIUS URGE US TO FINISH DOMESTIC AGENDA IN ORDER FOR THE EU TO HELP US WITH THE EUROPEAN ONE
MIC – July 24, 2013 – 2:34pm

Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki on Tuesday in Brussels realized meetings with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, European Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule and the Foreign Minister of Lithuania Linas Linkevicius.  In a statement for news agency MIA, Minister Poposki said that the talks with the EU high representatives were focused on the prospects and future dynamic of the EU enlargement process.  

According to Macedonian Foreign Minister Poposki, his interlocutors mentioned that their goal is to reach a consensus in the EU Stabilization and Association Council for start of Macedonia’s membership negotiations. For this reason, according to Poposki, additional efforts will be made for intensifying the dialogue between Macedonia and our southern neighbor towards eliminating the one and only existing problem in the bilateral relations.

“High Representative Ashton and Commissioner Fule are on the same wavelength. The talks with Ashton addressed our initiatives related to this matter and the one presented in the letter of PM Nikola Gruevski. We hope for some progress to be made in intesyfying this dialogue, as the simple delaying of the decision on opening the negotiations and the lack of commitment to settling the bilateral dispute are not in favor of the Euro-Atlantic agenda in the Balkans,” Poposki stressed.  

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Flash News
MIC – July 23, 2013 – 8:14am

- Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki met Monday in Brussels with his Greek colleague Evangelos Venizelos where they discussed the perspectives of the EU integration. Poposki underlined that PM Gruevski’s proposal might accelerate the name negotiation process but the Greek Minister is quiet.

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Flash News
MIC – July 22, 2013 – 8:26am

- A Macedonian delegation led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is to leave for Moscow on Monday and to sign the South Stream agreement the next day.

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IVANOV AND PAPOULIAS MEET IN ZAGREB
MIC – July 2, 2013 – 1:01pm

On the sidelines of the celebration of Croatia’s accession to the EU in Zagreb on Monday, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov met his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias, which was the first meeting ever of Macedonian and Greek heads of state. The meeting took place at President Ivanov’s initiative, Utrinski vesnik reports.

“We talked openly about our two societies, our citizens and the way in which we as presidents can contribute to closer cooperation considering we need to follow the good relations and the good trends happening between the citizens of our two countries,” President Ivanov said after meeting his Greek counterpart.

Papoulias, as President Ivanov said afterward, promised him another meeting.

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Flash News
MIC – July 2, 2013 – 8:30am

- Macedonian Government delegation headed by PM Nikola Gruevski, as of Monday, is paying a visit to People’s Republic of China and according to information, Gruevski is set to meet with President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The delegation is to take part in the conference for cooperation between China and the countries from Central and Eastern Europe which will be held in Chinese city Chung-King.

Chinese Central Television CCTV interviewed PM Nikola Gruevski which focused on the political and economic relations between the two countries, the increase of trade exchange and the investments. Gruevski stressed that the Chinese investments are welcome in Macedonia and invited Chinese companies to check Macedonia’s business climate.

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