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ZAEV: NORTH MACEDONIA WAS OUR CHOICE.

The Macedonian language is the language of the Macedonians across the world, in the diaspora and at home. It's the official language recognized by the entire world. It is part of the identity issue as is the Macedonian people with its identity incorporated in the Constitution. The Macedonian language and Macedonians shine in the UN country ID. There we are registered without a star or a footnote, without anything. Finally, the identity of everyone has been confirmed.

The Macedonian language is the language of the Macedonians in Australia, America, Canada, Switzerland, Germany and nobody disputes it any more, said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in his debate on Kanal 5 TV with opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski Tuesday. We are all aware, he said, that without an agreement with Greece, there can be neither NATO nor the EU.

"It's Greece to say whether those in Voden, Solun, Kavala, wherever they are, have the right to another language and it's Greece to say what language they speak. The Greek is the official language to them. We respect our southern neighbor, we respect its constitutional norms and that means we need to approach this issue carefully. Throughout the diaspora, Macedonians speak the Macedonian language. At home they speak the Macedonian language. The Macedonian language is the official language here.

We are the Macedonian people living alongside Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Roma, Vlachs, Bosniaks," Zaev said.

Asked by the TV host whether "Republic of North Macedonia" was the Macedonian authorities' choice, Zaev said that it was what the Macedonian side wanted.

"We chose 'north' for the simple reason that north Macedonia does exist. We are that northern part, while no country in the world is referred to as 'upper'. In the transcriptions, in the translations in all possible languages, it's absolutely very important that 'Macedonia' stayed in the name. I believe the solution is good for both parties. It's a solution that builds a future, a solution by which the future generations undertake to forge friendships, strategic partnerships, move forward and help each other," Zaev said.

According to Mickoski, the content of the agreement doesn't protect our national interests. "An agreement should have by all means been reached but not an agreement like this, with all its implications. It's completely wrong and is not offering a future. On the contrary, it complicates processes," Mickoski said.

He didn't give Zaev a straight answer whether he was going to annul the Prespa agreement and instead asked Zaev several times what language the Macedonians in northern Greece spoke. Zaev stressed that he was very careful regarding the Prespa agreement that helped overcome a decades-long dispute, enhanced friendly relations with Greece and opened the country's door to NATO and the EU.

"Greece is our friend. You won't make me fall out with the Greeks," Zaev said.

Zaev asked Mickoski to condemn the 27 April 2017 violence which Mickoski did. He said he wished it never happened again and added that he also condemned the sentences handed down to those prosecuted for the incident.

"I condemn the violence that happened on that day and I wish it never happens again. I also condemn the act that provoked that violence as well as the imprisonment sentences of more than two centuries for people that did not commit any violence on that day. On the other hand, we have battlefield returnees, representatives of ISIS who were sentenced to one-third of the sentence given to Goran Angelov, Mitko Cavkov, Mitko Pesev and the others," Mickoski replied.
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Title Annotation:MIC NEWS
Publication:INFOMAC Daily News Service
Geographic Code:4EUGR
Date:Mar 27, 2019
Words:582
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