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News 23 May 12

Macedonian PM Criticised Over NATO Remarks

Macedonian opposition parties have accused Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of damaging the national interest by unnecessarily antagonizing NATO in a recent interview.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

Skopje | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic



Opposition politicians have called on Prime Minister Gruevski to explain his failure to make progress on Macedonia's Euro-Atlantic objective in the face of Greece's continuing blockade.

In an interview for the Macedonian News Agency, MIA, on Sunday, Gruevski strongly criticized NATO for practising what he described as "double standards" and "selective respect of international law" when it comes to the country's accession.

The interview was published at the weekend just hours before the start of the two-day NATO summit in Chicago where Macedonia, as expected, again failed to secure an invitation to join the alliance, because of the Greek blockade over the name dispute.

"Gruevski went against the interests of Macedonian citizens and personally placed the country in confrontation with NATO," said Igor Ivanovski, parliamentary coordinator of the biggest opposition party, the Social Democrats.

The party has called for an emergency parliament session after what they see as the "failure of Macedonia" at the Chicago summit, and are demanding that the Prime Minister and President Gjorge Ivanov, whom they hold responsible, appear before parliament and explain how they propose to move the country forward from here.

The NATO summit, which ended on Monday, delivered the same conclusions regarding Macedonian accession as the summit in Bucharest in 2008 where Greece vetoed Macedonia's accession to the alliance in a move related to the unresolved name dispute.

In its Chicago Declaration, NATO reiterated that Macedonia will be invited to join as soon as it solves the long-standing dispute with Greece.
 
This conclusion comes despite strong lobbying by Macedonia, which has called for a ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague to be respected. The Court found that Greece's veto of Macedonia's NATO accession was in breach of an earlier agreement. For the first time, however, the declaration stresses that a swift solution of the dispute would contribute to security and stability in the region.

Greece has blocked Macedonia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations insisting that the name Macedonia implies territorial claims over its own northern province of the same name. UN-led talks between the two sides have so far been unsuccessful.

The smaller opposition Democratic Party of Albanians, DPA, has gone one step further calling for early general elections following Macedonia's setback at the NATO summit.

"The DPA restrains itself from the Prime Minister's vocabulary which is against NATO," said Imer Aliu of the DPA.

The party is calling on Gruevski's junior Albanian partner, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, to leave the government, which would create conditions for snap polls.

This scenario is unlikely as DUI officials have hinted that they do not intend to leave the government.

 

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