Address by President Ivanov at the Paris Peace Conference
Sunday, 11 November 2018 00:00

Distinguished attendees,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As President of the Republic of Macedonia, I am honored to address the Peace Forum in Paris. We are here to talk about peace and security, environmental protection, sustainable development, new technologies, inclusive economy... But the solution to these global challenges lies in one thing - and that is our worldview.

The contours of the worldview in all of us are drawn as early as in childhood. Three needs are crucial in shaping young people - attention, affirmation and affection. Children who receive attention, affirmation and affection from their parents and teachers grow into empathetic, confident and caring people. These are self-confident people who inspire confidence, who love the truth and strive passionately for social justice and peace, sustainable development, fight against climate change. These are people who believe in human rights and freedoms and respect the dignity of diversity.

But if we look around us, we will see that exactly these values we increasingly miss.

The lack of responsibility has led to a crisis of confidence. The world is going through a major transformation in which the boundary line between truth and falsehood, between right and wrong dissapears. Societies are fragmenting, families are falling apart, individuals are becoming isolated. Ghettos without walls are created, in which the different are merely tolerated without being truly respected. Humans set themselves as masters over nature, without being able to master their own greed. The fragile climate balance is broken.

There are numerous reasons for this situation, but I will refer to only one - education. In many countries in the world, the formal education, unfortunately, does not offer enough attention, affirmation and care for young people. The dominant Humboldt model of education is based on negative attention. We are punishing mistakes instead of rewarding successes and stimulating creativity and innovation. This approach affects the worldview of young people.

forum_paris_2As a university professor, I recognized this problem. But the chance to make a fundamental change came only after some of my students became politicians and decision makers who in 2009 proposed me as a candidate for a President of the Republic of Macedonia. And what should a professor do when he becomes president? The answer is simple - he opens his own school. So, in 2010, with my team, I launched the School for Young Leaders, which later became an International School.

As a parent invests in his children, as a President, I wanted to invest in the youth. Our goal was to give the most talented and most successful young leaders in the Republic of Macedonia and the region what they cannot obtain within the formal education system.

First, we have to recognize the most successful and give them the necessary attention.
Secondly, we have to affirm everything that they have achieved by then, all of their humanitarian initiatives, encouraging self-confidence in young people and building a culture of trust.
Thirdly, we must take care of their further development as leaders by investing in them.

To achieve this, we had to return to the source, where the water is the purest, to Aristotle. We know that Aristotle practiced 3 levels of transfer of knowledge.

The exoteric lectures were intended for those who wanted to expand their knowledge but only to the level of general culture.

The esoteric lectures were for the dedicated students who could understand the complex concepts with the power of the mind. Fortunately, most of these lectures are preserved.

However, the most sublime are the achromatic lectures that Aristotle taught face to face. For already 24 centuries those lost lectures are being sought after. Based on the actions of his best students, we can restructure some of the basic principles. It is assumed that some of these achromatic lectures are the four golden rules, which are part of all major religions. Probably, Aristotle told his best, most noble disciples to:
1. Be patient
2. Always learn from the other
3. Seize the moment
4. Be prepared for any sacrifice, if you want to succeed.

forum_paris_4The one who hastens, makes mistakes; his opponent learns from him, awaits him to make a mistake and uses the moment. The right moment appears only once. The whole philosophy in these four basic principles of the most sublime achromatic lectures is that they occur at one point, when readiness to sacrifice is required.

Knowledge becomes obsolete, wisdom never. Therefore, our aim in creating the School for Young Leaders was to make wisdom and skills of proven leaders accessible to the future social leaders in the Republic of Macedonia and in the Balkans.

In our School, young leaders have a chance to talk face to face with some of the most successful leaders of today, and be taught how to apply knowledge and skills. It includes interdisciplinary and applicative knowledge, practical advice and mentorship by top world leaders.

So far, over 350 young people from the Republic of Macedonia and the region of different academic and professional focus have been trained by over 200 top leaders in the fields of politics, business, innovation and communications.

We wanted to build leaders with real values, integrity and open mind. I reminded every generation of Einstein's thought that the mind is as parachute – it is useful only when open. Only open-minded young people will be able to think outside the patterns, find new, innovative and creative solutions to local and global challenges.

Young leaders belong to the Millennials, the Y Generation. Therefore, we cover topics that are close to their heart and are based on sharing philosophy. Sharing philosophy implies sharing economy where young people share access to products or services rather than being their individual owners. We train them to use crowdfunding and crowdsourcing in order to find funds for their projects from a large number of Internet users. We organize trainings on sustainable development and start-up philosophy. We encourage them to use the power of networking in order to bring about positive changes in society. In other words, the School for Young Leaders is a start-up school for future social leaders of Macedonia and the Balkans.

forum_paris_5Perhaps the most important thing we want young people to learn is the lesson on moral leadership. It has become popular to say that it does not matter if a political or business leader is moral or not, as long as he does his job well. The ability, not the character is what matters. But pragmatism without morality leads to short-term solutions with long-term harmful consequences. Leaders without moral are part of the problem, not of the solution.

Therefore, we try to develop awareness in young leaders that we all sail on the same global ship. To be able to protect our economies and states from shipwreck, we need an anchor. That anchor is the three principles of every successful economy, also valid for successful politics and education. If any country or company implements meritocracy, pragmatism and honesty - it will succeed.

With meritocracy, we choose the best to be our leaders. If you are surrounded by successful people and if you support successful people, you will also succeed. High criteria are necessary for this.

With pragmatism, we learn and use the best of others. To learn is not enough to know. Knowledge should be applicable.

With honesty, we try to eradicate corruption and promote honesty in private and professional life.

How much does this cost the taxpayers of the Republic of Macedonia? Not a bit. The implementation of the School for Young Leaders is fully funded by the private sector in the Republic of Macedonia, but also by the global brands. It is about companies that have recognized the importance and value of our project and have supported our mission, confident that they are investing in future social leaders. The school founded by the president of the state and financed by the private sector is an example of a public-private partnership that aims to invest in the society and the future.

This investment is already paying off. Many young leaders from previous generations have already started taking over responsible leading positions in different social spheres, becoming a positive example for others. These are young, future-oriented people, who think of the future and want to reach the future, not only for themselves, but for as many people in the society as possible.

forum_paris_6Thanks to all this, the World Business Angels Forum declared the "School for Young Leaders" the best socially responsible project in Europe for 2017.

Some may say: Mr. President, there are already many leadership schools in the world. True, but most of them are extremely expensive and affordable for just a few. There are almost no presidential schools that are actually free because they are supported by the private sector. This makes our School an exception to the rule. And that exception makes a huge difference for us.

Other may ask: how does this model of leadership school solve the global challenges for which we have gathered here today? Our model can be used to change the dominant educational paradigm, which must be solution-oriented. This creates a new generation of leaders with real values that will not run away from the problems, but will solve them. Leaders who will not dominate and discriminate, but will cooperate and include. Leaders who will spread hope in their societies and in the world instead of fear.

We have succeeded in establishing a recognizable model that served as an inspiration for other current and former heads of state to start their own leadership schools following our example. I believe, however, this success is only the beginning.

My message to you, the leaders of today is: do not look until the next election, but until the next generation. Investing in future leaders should become a new fashion, a new trend. Such ideas should not require copyright. This is very necessary in every society. I would be overjoyed if I hear that other heads of state and government have established leadership schools. That the future leaders are given attention, affirmation and care and thus are prepared to take over the helm. Only in this way will success become the basis for a new success. Because, through investment, young leaders are called upon to recognize responsibility as future leaders.

As we speak, the Millennials, the Generation Y, are already taking their place in the world. Right after them is the post-millennial Generation Z that does not know a world without Internet. At this very moment, we are witnessing the birth of the so-called Alpha Generation that is to live in the 22nd century. It is our responsibility to prepare those who come after us to take their rightful place in our global ship. We should provide them with a compass and a map and thus prepare them to be moral and ethical leaders with character, integrity, humility, focused on people, responsible and passionate. To not be afraid of the unknown, but bravely and wisely face challenges, so that we can finally start sailing smoothly. Only changed individuals can change the spirit of the world.

Address by President Ivanov at the opening of the European Scout Academy
Wednesday, 31 October 2018 22:46

Respected Members of the Scout Association of Macedonia,

Dear Scouts from all over Europe,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my huge honor and great pleasure to be with you at the opening of the European Scout Academy. The organization of such a significant event in the Republic of Macedonia testifies to the place and importance of the Macedonian scouts in the European and world scout movement, which includes over 50 million young people and has a history of more than a century. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the official start of the organized scouting in the Republic of Macedonia.

In the past decades, the Scout Association of Macedonia has contributed to the proper upbringing and education of thousands of young people in our homeland. Today, the Scout Association of Macedonia operates on almost the entire territory of the Republic of Macedonia, with 25 active scout units.

Using the scout method and informal education, it is an organization in which young people find their interests and learn skills. With its dedicated work, the Scout Association of Macedonian contributes to the proper development of young people by embracing their self-esteem, teaching them the real values, encouraging them to respect other people with all their differences.

The Association offers the scouts a moral compass, besides the magnetic compass. The moral compass helps the scouts build character and integrity, be humble and ready to serve others, work for the common good. The moral compass helps them focus on people and encourages the best in them. To be responsible for each other. All this is done with an almost infectious passion.

PRM_Izvidnici_02Dear friends,

For 65 years, the Association is an example for working with and for young people. Therefore, as President of the Republic of Macedonia, I made a decision to award the Charter of the Republic of Macedonia to the Scout Association of Macedonia. This Charter is a gratitude for everything that you, as an association, have done in the past decades. I am convinced that it will be an additional incentive to continue with your noble mission. To be a community of trust in which young people feel secure and accepted, where they can freely share their problems and thoughts and build themselves and become individuals with high moral values. But even more than that.

This Charter is at the same time a challenge to engage in the rebuilding of the values ​​in the Republic of Macedonia. Such rebuilding is however more than necessary. If only one day we monitor the developments in our country, our social networks and the media, both in the virtual and in the real life, we will see how much good scout values ​​are in fact needed for the Macedonian society.

Truth has never had so many enemies as it has today, in our time of fake news and wars of perception. Public decency became an exception rather than a rule. Courage and endurance have become rare and expensive. The absence of responsibility has led to a crisis of confidence. All this is contrary to the principles on which scouting is based. Scouts radiate with confidence. That confidence is acquired by the scout by acting responsibly, that there is a sign of equality between his or her thoughts, words and deeds. These things are indeed the foundation not only of the life of the virtuous individual, but also the foundation of every free society.

Therefore, it is necessary to find again the golden balance that will help us build virtuous, moral and responsible individuals. Individuals who, with their talents, knowledge and skills, will contribute to their personal well-being, but also to the well-being of the whole society. I am confident that the Scout Association of Macedonia has a great role in rebuilding social values.

At the very end, I use this opportunity to wish a successful scout academy and a pleasant and unforgettable stay in the Republic of Macedonia to all the guests from almost all European countries.

Thank you.


Address by the President of the Republic of Macedonia
Monday, 01 October 2018 15:26

Respected citizens of the Republic of Macedonia,

On yesterday's referendum, the people rejected the Prespa Agreement. By refusing to vote, the people clearly pleaded against hasty, imposed and harmful decisions adopted without a previously reached national consensus. The silent majority decided. The boycott is the voice of those who are underestimated and not heard.

The message from the people is sent to those who must hear it.

The reality is that the referendum did not succeed. Do not try to change this reality. Do not underestimate the sovereign will of the Macedonian people. We cannot talk about the will of the majority in conditions when the legal census on the referendum is not fulfilled. 36.9% turnout is not the will of the people, but 63.1% who did not go out.

No matter how much you try, you cannot change the reality. And the reality is that the referendum is unsuccessful. It is time for responsibility before the Macedonian people.

The support for the EU and NATO is collateral damage to the unpopular referendum. The support for the EU and NATO of over 80%, you reduced it to only 36.9%. You are also manipulating our citizens, and selling false ideas and perceptions to our European and Euro-Atlantic partners

A state is not led by a free and unauthorized interpretation of the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Macedonia. At the same time, I expect the OSCE/ODIHR Observation Mission to consider seriously the complaints about the irregularities at certain polling stations.

I advise those who interfere in the internal affairs of the Republic of Macedonia and unprincipled take sides to respect the international conventions on diplomatic relations. Those who have a democratic deficit cannot impose solutions contrary to the sovereign will of the Macedonian people.

Dear fellow citizens,

Just a couple of days ago, from the United Nations podium, the US President, Donald Trump, said that "freedom, peace and democracy are only possible in sovereign and independent states". Yesterday, the Macedonian people showed its sovereign will. Like the French President Macron, I believe in the strong identity of every nation, I believe in the history and ambition of our Macedonian people.

The referendum is not a poll. The decision of the citizens obliges. In a referendum, citizens directly exercise their sovereign power. The Assembly must respect that decision.

Therefore, I congratulate the Macedonian people, Albanians, Turks, Serbs, Roma, Bosniaks and Vlachs for their decision.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me turn to all the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia who came out yesterday and gave their vote in the referendum.

Only firmly united around our state interests, respecting the constitutional and legal order, we can walk along the path to the European and Euro-Atlantic family. We have no doubts that the place of the Republic of Macedonia is in the EU and NATO. But we need to enter there with our human dignity, without blackmail, pressure and double standards. Only in this way can we deal with the two big challenges:

The first challenge is serious and thorough reforms in all segments, because without real judicial reform, without justice and the rule of law, without the fight against corruption, without the fight against party elitism and clientelism, there is no membership in the Union and NATO.

The second challenge is to rebuild our national consensus so that we can act, in one voice and unity, in defending our state interests and achieving our strategic goals.

In the end, as President of the Republic of Macedonia, I would like to remind you that in almost all decisive moments of the history of Macedonia, the people made wise decisions. It is our responsibility to respect that decision. This should be a lesson for all political parties to be careful what they promise and to whom.

As a citizen, however, I expect the ruling majority to bear responsibility for the failed referendum. We all face defeats in our lives. Some of us more, some less. The size of a person is to recognize and accept the defeat.

Yesterday, the Republic of Macedonia remained undefeated.

Long live the Republic of Macedonia.

Speech by the President of the Republic of Macedonia, His Excellency, Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, delivered at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Thursday, 27 September 2018 14:25


This year, we are celebrating 100 years since the end of the First World War. The League of Nations was supposed to safeguard peace. However, it failed. The United Nations rose from the ashes of the Second World War and were built over a world destroyed by fascism, Nazism, racism and colonialism. By adopting the United Nations Charter, a brave generation of leaders gave hope to the unprivileged, the oppressed, the denied, that they will be able to exercise their right to self-determination.

70 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights became another gleam of hope for humanity. This hope became more realistic through the work of the United Nations and its numerous programs. Through peacekeeping missions, arms control, non-proliferation treaties and the fight against terrorism and international organized crime we build a safer world. The Sustainable Development Goals help us focus our energy on reducing poverty, eradicating illnesses, spreading education, clean water and sanitation, and creating opportunities for the youth. With the Paris Agreement we fight climate change and try to build communities and nations resilient to disaster risks. As a result, millions of people today are living better lives then they did a decade ago. All these achievements would be unimaginable had we not united our efforts through the United Nations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As President of the Republic of Macedonia, I can righteously say that the Macedonian people participated in the creation of the post-World War II order. We were at the right side of history, because even back in 1941, we started fighting the evil that was fascism and Nazism.

The Macedonian state participated in the creation of the United Nations. In 1945, the Federative Democratic Yugoslavia was one of the founders of the United Nations. As a constitutive Republic with a right to self-determination to secession, Macedonia was a co-founder of the United Nations.

As a state within that federation, we participated in the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; in the international pacts on civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights that guarantee human dignity, the right to self-determination and the right to sovereign equality of states.

On September 8, 1991, making use of our sovereign right to self-determination and secession, in a peaceful way, we left the collapsing federation and we proclaimed an independent and sovereign Republic of Macedonia.

This is what the great injustice is all about. We were not allowed to enjoy the privileges of the organization and the documents in whose creation we once participated. We were denied the sovereign right to call ourselves by our name, as if an ordinary administrative region in Greece (bearing the same name) has a bigger right in international relations than a sovereign state such as the Republic of Macedonia.

25 years ago, on April 8, 1993, the Republic of Macedonia became a member of the United Nations. And yet, in this community of equals before the law, the Republic of Macedonia was admitted as less equal, with a derogated legal personality and a violated right to self-determination.

Today, 25 years later, the talks within the United Nations should end by the adoption of the so-called Prespa Final Agreement that according to some, should put an end to the name dispute with Greece and open the way to membership of the Republic of Macedonia in the European Union and NATO.

The Settlement begins with a grand preamble whose formulations would make even the authors of the Universal Declaration quite envious. Ironically, the Prespa Agreement violates the same universal principles and standards that it refers to in its preamble, including the right to human dignity. Out of all the rights that have been violated, I wish to draw your attention to one – namely, the right to self-determination.

The right of self-determination means that only the nation itself has the right to determine its destiny, that no one has the right forcibly to interfere in the life of the nation, to destroy its schools and other institutions, to violate its habits and customs, to repress its language, or curtail its rights. The right of self-determination means that a nation may arrange its life in the way it wishes. It has the right to arrange its life on the basis of autonomy. It has the right to complete secession. Nations are sovereign, and all nations have equal rights.

The right to self-determination is the source of the right of people to choose their own name and the name of the state they created. The right to choose a name is an inalienable part of the right to self-determination. Only by respecting the right to self-determination will the United Nations be relevant for all peoples. As a people, we have been bearing the name Macedonians for centuries, and as a state for 74 years – even before the existence of the United Nations. Our attachment to this name was confirmed when, 27 years ago, we used our right to self-determination and proclaimed an independent and sovereign Republic of Macedonia.

Still, with the Prespa Agreement, Greece is imposing a new name and is asking for an erga omnes implementation – both for international and domestic use. It is foreseen that we change our Constitution, whereby Greece would become the ultimate authority that would approve constitutional amendments. Through this settlement, Greece would be given a permanent monitoring over how we name ourselves, but also over how you, Member States of the United Nations, will address us. Greece will be authorized to rename our institutions, to censor the contents of schoolbooks for our children, to prevent citizens from expressing their Macedonian identity. This also regulates the appellation of our Macedonian language. A very important part of our way of life will depend on Greek will. It is a censorship of the world and an auto-censorship of the collective conscience of Macedonian people. It is violence against our historical memory. There are hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and testimonies in the UN archives, detailing what the Greek state used to do to Macedonians in Greece. Now, with the Prespa Agreement, the Greek state wants to do the same to the Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia. The aim is to limit the use of the name Macedonians to the smallest possible space – and that is the space between our two ears, all while keeping our mouth closed. It is a flagrant violation of the right to self-determination.

However, this Prespa Agreement is just a bitter fruit of a tree that has been poisoned a long time ago. It is a detrimental compromise based on the 1995 Interim Accord. At a time when we were internationally isolated, the Interim Accord achieved under the auspices of the United Nations was supposed to be a guarantee that Greece would not block our integration in international organizations. However, there is a serious problem in this sense as well. No one can transfer to another more rights than they have themselves. And yet, with Article 5 of the 1995 Interim Accord and under the UN-led process, Greece was allowed to negotiate with the Republic of Macedonia about its name. It is a violation of the right to self-determination.

The Interim Accord itself is not without its own roots. It stems from Resolutions 817 and 845 of the United Nations Security Council in 1993. Although it notes that the Republic of Macedonia fulfills the criteria for UN membership contained in article 4 of the Charter, the Security Council concludes nevertheless that there is a difference regarding the name of the state, conditioning the membership of the Republic of Macedonia with the acceptance of a provisional reference and an obligation to discuss about the name issue. That formulation is nothing else but a euphemism for violating the right to self – determination.

And thus we arrive at the root of the problem.

The right to self-determination was violated when the Republic of Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations. The Interim Accord and the Prespa Agreement have been adopted in order to justify that violation. You should know that the text of that so-called Prespa Agreement was prepared without my knowledge and without my consent as President of the Republic of Macedonia. Moreover, the Agreement violates a clause of our domestic law which is of fundamental importance.

Otherwise said, the knot that started entangling with Resolutions 817 and 845 and the Interim Accord, has now, with the Prespa Agreement, taken the shape of a hangman's noose. The Republic of Macedonia is now asked to commit a legal and historical suicide, so that the legal abolishment of Macedonian people could then be interpreted as its own will. I wonder what this says about global leadership and shared responsibility of the United Nations?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Greece insists on an erga omnes implementation of the imposed name, thus making the violation of the right to self-determination erga omnes as well. However, the International Court of Justice has stated in its judgment of June 30, 1995 that the right to self-determination has indeed an erga omnes effect. This very important decision was neglected in the preparation of the Interim Accord, three months later.

It is said that the Macedonian case is a unique one in the United Nations. However, the UN archives have registered an almost identical case in which a member state denies the right of membership to an applicant country because of its name. I say almost, because the request of that member state to block the entry of the other country was ignored by the United Nations. All of this happened after our precedent.

I am asking: Why is this not valid in the case of the Republic of Macedonia? Are all states not equally sovereign? Are the United Nations more relevant for some, and less relevant for other peoples?

Again, we see an unprincipled Athens victorious over a peace-loving Melos, showing that the stronger do what they can, and the weaker do what they must. The Prespa Agreement places us in a fait accompli situation, in which we are told – you are smaller, you are weaker, and therefore you must accept Athens' ultimatum. Instead of being rewarded, we have been punished for our peace-loving nature. It seems to be forgotten that the United Nations were created by visionaries who wanted an order in which even the smallest and the weakest of peoples would be protected. This because the respect of the rights of small peoples and states is a barometer for the observance of the international charter on human rights.

Aristotle claimed that whoever is not part of the polis is either a beast or a god. What the individual used to be to the ancient polis, is in a way, what the state is to the modern cosmopolis today. Greece is acting as if it is not bound by the rules of international order. With this attitude, I wonder in which category would Aristotle classify the cradle of democracy today.

If the United Nations are incapable of giving force to a righteous law, then they will only legitimate unrighteous force. And international order cannot be preserved by violating international law.

For a long time, we were persuaded that there is no other way. But through the fruits, we recognized the tree. Through this Prespa Agreement, we saw that we have been misled to search for a solution that would mean erosion of the right to self-determination.

How should we undo this complicated know, this noose placed around our neck? The unraveling should begin where everything else began – with the violation of the right to self-determination.

The Vienna Convention on Treaties states very clearly that every agreement contrary to the ius cogens standards is null and void. According to Article 1, Item 2 and Article 55 of the UN Charter, one of those ius cogens standards is the right to self-determination. Article 5 of the 1995 Interim Accord specifies negotiations on the right to self-determination, which makes it contrary to this ius cogens standard. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, means that the entire 1995 Interim Accord is null and void, and with it, the Prespa Agreement that stems from it.

No one has the right to bring into question the decision of the people to choose their name and the name of the country they created. It is a decision deriving from the right to self-determination established as an absolute right of all peoples.

Only the right to self-determination, and not its violation, can have an erga omnes effect.

Distinguished participants,

As I am speaking here, in my country, the Republic of Macedonia, they are counting the last hours before the referendum on which my fellow citizens have been asked to express themselves on the Prespa Agreement.

In these past few weeks, many high profile foreign representatives visited the Republic of Macedonia. I know that many of them sincerely wish to help the Republic of Macedonia become part of the European Union and NATO. And I thank them for their good intentions from the bottom of my heart. But I am afraid that they too have been misled. Their message is that if the referendum fails and the Prespa Agreement is not accepted, then we should not hope for membership in NATO and the European Union. And I ask them – if you take away our hope, what will we be left with? Help us by unblocking the process of EU and NATO membership of the Republic of Macedonia without violating the right to self-determination in the process.

Many of them have been persuading Macedonian citizens to accept the Greek proposal. I ask them, would they accept a derogation of the right to self-determination of their own peoples and countries? Would they accept interference in their internal affairs, a breach of sovereignty and political independence? Why are then we asked to accept something that no one else in the world would accept?

Do not try to persuade us to eat from this poisoned fruit. It is high time for this poisonous tree and its poisonous fruit to be rooted out.

Therefore, in these last hours before the referendum silence, I wish to convey a message to my fellow citizens in the Republic of Macedonia.

Voting on a referendum is your right, and not an obligation. In accordance with Article 7, Item 3 of the Referendum Law, 'no one shall be held responsible for voting or not voting in a referendum'. Every citizen has the right to decide how to act as regards this referendum – to go out and vote, or stay home and boycott.

Just as the referendum on September 8, 1991 led to sovereignty and independence, this referendum on September 30 may lead to a state of subordination and dependence towards another country.

If this referendum succeeds in accordance with law, then not only will the name of the existing country be changed, but a new, semi-sovereign country will be created, with a new name and a new internal and international legal identity. We will be a state only by name, but not in substance, because others will regulate our way of life.

However, if the referendum fails, a new possibility will arise. A possibility to discuss and explore new options for resolving the issue in accordance with international law, and by respecting our fundamental right to self-determination. To renew the national consensus that we achieved at the beginning of our independence.

It does not take courage to capitulate. It takes courage to persist in the realization of the right to self-determination and preserve the sovereignty and independence of a country. It takes courage to tell the truth.

This September 30th will be decisive for our future. But at the same time, for centuries in our tradition, September 30th has been the day when we celebrate Faith, Hope and Love which arise from Wisdom.

Do not lose the faith in yourselves, because the future of the Republic of Macedonia depends on you. Do not lose the hope and patriotic love for the Republic of Macedonia, because only as a sovereign and independent country it can be a guardian of your freedom and human dignity. As a citizen, I have made my decision. On September 30th, I will not go out to vote. I believe that you, my fellow citizens, will make a wise decision.

I also wish to address you, representatives of United Nations Member states. This irrational dispute has had detrimental consequences for the Republic of Macedonia and its citizens. Due to Greek blockades, we were denied the right to prosperity. Unfortunately, all of this has reflected on the sustainability of the Macedonian multiethnic, multireligious and multilingual society. A society which has actively contributed to peace, stability and security in the region and in Europe for the past 27 years.

The position of official Athens is not only contrary to international law and the decision of Macedonian citizens, it also goes against the will of almost 140 member states of the United Nations which have recognized the fundamental right to self-determination of the Republic of Macedonia and use its constitutional name.
As President of the Republic of Macedonia, I urge all states that already recognized the Republic of Macedonia and established diplomatic relations under its constitutional name, not to change their decisions. Demonstrate your sovereignty by remaining faithful to your principled decisions, made without any kind of pressure. Help us by being the guardians of our right to self-determination, thus safeguarding your right to self-determination.

Modern history has shown that the Balkans are the birthplace of precedents. If we are turned into detrimental precedents that limit our sovereignty and political independence, then it is only a question of time when those will be applied in some of your states. What does this say about the relevance of United Nations for all peoples, about leadership and shared responsibility?

I have always been an advocate and an active contributor to the building of a true and lasting partnership between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece, as well as friendship and trust between Macedonian and Greek societies. However, if the only way to accommodate the irrational demands of the Greek side is through imposed measures on the Macedonian side, what we get are relations without trust. This agreement does not bring Macedonian and Greek people together – it sets them apart.

Greek and Macedonian society should learn how to live together in spite of their deepest differences. In order to reach a real, sustainable and lasting agreement, we need dialogue instead of monologue, arguments instead of imposing by force, mutual respect instead of denial.

Only by supporting such a fair approach, the United Nations will be relevant in our case, and will demonstrate leadership and shared responsibility. The United Nations will only be relevant if they respect their own principles.

Dear friends,

Perhaps, even as I speak, there are statements being written condemning this speech. Most often, the first reaction to truth is hatred. Truth uncovers lies, it uncovers unfulfilled promises and guilty consciousness. And there is a lot of guilty consciousness involved in the Macedonian case. However, truth also liberates and allows for the acceptance of guilt, for correction of mistakes and healing of the wounds from the violation of our fundamental right to self-determination and human dignity. And the simple truth is that we are Macedonians and our country is the Republic of Macedonia. By respecting this simple truth for our identity, you respect our human dignity which is built in the foundations of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

Thank you.


President Ivanov: I will not go out and vote on September 30
Sunday, 23 September 2018 08:02

Ladies and Gentlemen
Dear friends
Brothers and Sisters

Thank you for this prestigious recognition. I wish to thank the United Macedonian Diaspora for this magnificent gala dinner. I am truly proud to see you all here, united – united in your love for Macedonia. We have successfully survived all the challenges that our homeland has been through in the past. I do believe that together, we will overcome our current challenge.

As President, I have always been an advocate for reaching the strategic goals of the Republic of Macedonia. Membership in NATO and the European Union is our interest and our uniting strategic aim that we will persist on achieving.
However, there was a block o that path. We were denied the right to call us by our name. With that, we were imposed an irrational dispute lasting for almost three decades.

I have always been for a solution that will not touch upon the identity of the Macedonian people and will not be detrimental for Macedonian national interests; a solution that would not involve a change of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia in view of changing the constitutional name. At the same time, I believe that the solution should be based on a broad national consensus without destroying the state positions held thus far. Such solution should be confirmed by the citizens at a referendum.

Today, the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia are offered a solution on a referendum – a solution which goes against all state positions taken so far. It was not a result of a national consensus and was made without my knowledge or consent.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Everyone is wondering what will happen if the Prespa Final Settlement is not accepted. However, it is much more important to wonder about the consequences of accepting this Settlement.

I believe that the settlement if detrimental and fatal for the Republic of Macedonia. Accepting this settlement will have far-reaching consequences for the Macedonian state and the Macedonian people. This Greek settlement does not strengthen Macedonian identity, but it legally abolishes Macedonian people. It does not confirm, but change Macedonian state and institutional identity. It does not promote, but degrades our acquired rights.

Article 3 of the Settlement says that "each of the Parties obliges to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the other Party."
And yet, the very content of the Settlement denies the sovereignty and political independence of the Republic of Macedonia since it allows interference in its internal affairs. According to the settlement, the last word will be given to the Greek, and not Macedonian Members of Parliament. With this settlement, the Republic of Macedonia is brought to a subordinate and dependent position vis-à-vis the Hellenic Republic.

Greek membership in the EU and NATO has created an imbalance of power and conditions for Macedonia imposed by Greece. With this asymmetric settlement, the truth of the predominant party will become the predominant truth.
There will no longer be a Macedonian National Theater, Macedonian Radio Television, Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and not even a Macedonian Orthodox Church.

2_galaSuch an agreement does not unite Macedonian citizens – on the contrary, it adds to the polarization of Macedonian society. This agreement annuls the "social agreement' that we achieved when we declared our country independent and sovereign.

For almost three decades, Greece has been claiming that the Republic of Macedonia is an artificial creation. However, the truth is that the only artificial creation is in this agreement, and is not an expression of the will of Macedonian people and Macedonian citizens. This settlement creates a new entity, a new non-national state.

In simple terms, the consequences of this settlement can be summarized in one sentence. The same thing that the Greek state did to the Macedonians in Greece, it now wants to do to the Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia – to make them nameless, faceless and speechless.

I do not wish to be misinterpreted. I am all for partnership and friendship between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece, between Macedonian and Greek societies. However, in order to be sustainable, this partnership needs to be built on solid bases.

If the only way to satisfy the irrational demands of the Greek side is through imposed measures to the Macedonian side, then the result is relations without trust. This agreement does not bring Macedonian and Greek people together, it only sets them apart.

Both Greek and Macedonian society should learn how to live together in spite of the deepest differences that drive them apart. In order to have a real, sustainable and durable agreement, we need dialogue instead of monologue, argumentation instead of imposing things by force and trust instead of mistrust.
I know that you too, as Macedonian diaspora, are concerned about this situation, because the developments in our homeland inevitably reflect on the diaspora.

I am aware about this from the numerous letters from and meetings with the representatives of your organizations. Therefore, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for all the support and assistance you have been providing in these moments.

We must not forget that the Republic of Macedonia is not only a state of the Macedonian citizens living in it, but also a homeland to each and every one of you members of the Macedonian diaspora.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In these past few weeks, we have seen and almost daily arrival of high profile foreign representatives who have been persuading Macedonian citizens to show up at the referendum and accept the Greek settlement. However, it seems to go unnoticed that without real reforms, without fight against corruption, without fight against political party elitism and clientelism, there will be no EU and NATO membership. Even if this detrimental Greek agreement is accepted, even if the Macedonian Constitution is amended, EU and NATO membership will not follow by default.

Almost all of those foreign representatives whom I met asked me the same question: what is my position as regards the Settlement.
This was my answer.

In his address to Macedonian citizens back in 1991, on the eve of the referendum for independence, President Gligorov stated that the referendum should be a confirmation that the Macedonian people are a people with long history, awoken democratic awareness and that with that referendum, we should consciously and responsibly write the new page in the book of our own existence.

3galaUnlike that, 27 years later, the referendum on the Greek settlement deletes this privilege that the Macedonian people pronounced themselves about back in 1991.

I wish to remind Macedonian citizens that in article 7, item 3 of the Law on Referendums, 'no one can be held responsible for voting, or not voting at a referendum'. Every citizen has the right to decide how they will act as regards this referendum – whether they will come out and vote or stay home and boycott.

As for me personally, I already voted. I voted 27 years ago, on September 8, 1991. I was one of those who cast their vote in favor of constituting the Republic of Macedonia as a sovereign and independent state, with its own name and dignity. Therefore, I will not go out and vote on September 30.

I was given citizen support twice – not to allow a change of the Constitution for the purpose of changing the constitutional name and not to accept ideas and proposals that would jeopardize Macedonian national identity, the specificity of the Macedonian nation, Macedonian language and Macedonian model of coexistence. I will not give up on that promise. Therefore, I will not go out and vote on September 30.

When I took over the position of President of the Republic of Macedonia, I pledged to respect the Constitution and our laws. I will not give up on that pledge. Therefore, I will not go out and vote on September 30.

This settlement not only changes the name of our existing country, but it also creates a new, semi-sovereign state with a new name and a new internal and international legal identity.

In accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, sovereignty derives from the citizens and belongs to the citizens. Do not let that right be taken away from you; do not let anyone de-sovereignize you. Do not allow for someone else to control your conscience and your national pride.

The Republic of Macedonia belongs to the people who created it. And that people does not only have a historical right over its Republic – it also has a historical responsibility; this because no generation, including ours, can claim that everything begins with it. We are just a part of the continuum. It is our responsibility to safeguard and give to our descendants what we have inherited from our ancestors. Just as the Macedonian people are the creator of the Republic of Macedonia, in the same way, the Republic of Macedonia is the guardian of Macedonian identity. The question of the name and identity is older and more precious than any Constitution, any Government, any political party, any President and any individual interest.

Having all of this in mind, I have made my decision. I believe and I am convinced that the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia will make the right and wise decision on September 30.

And just like we are accountable before our citizens, we are also accountable before the diaspora, which has always been and will always be there for Macedonia in the most difficult of times. I believe you will take every opportunity to help in these challenging times, and that united, we will continue to work on our shared vision – to make the Republic of Macedonia a more just, safe and prosperous country.

Thank you. 


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