Saturday, January 08, 2005

Macedonian deputy PM argues for "open cooperation", solidarity with Kosovo

Text of commentary by Deputy Prime Minister Musa Xhaferi: "Kosova represents opportunity, not danger, for Macedonia", published by Macedonian Albanian-language newspaper Fakti on 6 January

The year we have left behind marked the inauguration of a new policy of the Republic of Macedonia towards its neighbours. The year 2005 will be the year of the final dissolution of prejudices and the year in which we will begin to build a new way of thinking about relations with our neighbours in general and especially with Kosova [Kosovo].

I think that 2005 is the right time to start thinking in a different way and realize that the Republic of Macedonia is not a product of the war against the Albanians, as has been asserted up till now by the political elite. On the contrary, Macedonia should be a product of coexistence, power sharing and cooperation between Albanians and Macedonians in their common country.

Unfortunately, the prevalence of the old concept in the last 60 years, according to which Macedonia and the Macedonian nation could survive only through permanent war against Albanians in Macedonia, was not only a mistake but also proved to be detrimental to the Macedonian nation in particular and Macedonia in general. This concept has produced the conviction among Macedonian citizens that the Macedonian state would cease to exist the moment that it stopped its war against Albanians. This has been the source of all negative energies that have fed the Macedonian animosity towards Albanians - against ethnic Albanians in Macedonia in the first place and then, in a more severe form, against Albanians in Kosova, Albania and other areas.

According to the new concept, the Macedonian policy towards Kosova will, in the future, be based on the principles of open cooperation aimed at helping and strengthening the new democracy in Kosova, so that Macedonia will have a stable, democratic and strong neighbour with developed institutions. This new Macedonian policy is motivated by common interests of Macedonia and Kosova which accepts that stability in Kosova also means stability in Macedonia, progress in Kosova also means progress in Macedonia, and regional integration of Kosova also means regional integration for Macedonia.

The premise of this new policy is that a country cannot be stable, prosperous and strong without stable, prosperous and strong neighbours. I pray that, instead of a selfish policy, next year will be dominated by a policy of solidarity with one another because only together can we become part of the European Union and NATO.

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