February 28, 2011 – Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), on behalf of its membership and entire global Macedonian Diaspora community, expressed today its concern over the ongoing and most recent Macedonian Government’s handling of the “name dispute” with Greece, and the political gamesmanship of Macedonia’s political parties with Macedonia’s democratic institutions. Furthermore, UMD expressed disappointment in the manipulation of the Diaspora’s right to vote by Macedonia’s political parties.
“Macedonia’s government has harmed Macedonia’s image and positions vis-à-vis Greece by accepting a new name for Macedonia during the NATO Bucharest Summit in 2008 while misleading Macedonian citizens regarding its stern positions and an eventual referendum on the new name,” said UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov. “UMD is concerned over the handling of Macedonia’s most important issue and urges the government to cease all talks with Greece over Macedonia’s rightful and constitutional name immediately, today.”
UMD advocates for the interests and rights of all Macedonians worldwide, whether in the Republic or outside. UMD would like to remind the Macedonian government that nobody has a mandate to negotiate Macedonia’s name, the Macedonian ethnicity/identity and language. UMD believes Macedonia has already made plenty of unnecessary concessions and must stop continuing this harmful process once and for all.
In recent weeks, Macedonia’s political parties have increased their political gamesmanship with Macedonia’s democratic institutions. The incidents on Skopje’s Kale at the sight of a memorial in honor of a medieval Macedonian Orthodox Church have further jeopardized inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations in Macedonia. UMD hopes that Macedonia’s citizens will hold the Macedonian Government and representatives, including its Coalition partner the Democratic Union of Integration, accountable for instigating further ethnic and religious hatred in Macedonia and all who committed unlawful activities will be prosecuted.
UMD strongly supports freedom of the media and hopes that A1 television station and all other media will continue to work without fear of persecution or bias their reporting for political favors.
UMD calls upon Macedonia’s opposition to return to Parliament – the place for democratic dialogue – where they can voice their concerns on behalf of their constituents. UMD believes the Macedonian citizens deserve an opposition that will hold its government accountable for its actions within Macedonia’s democratic institutions and enforce much needed checks and balances.
“If my member of Congress decided to boycott Congress, he would not receive my vote in the next elections; Macedonian citizens are tired of the political gamesmanship played by Macedonia’s political parties and deserve true leadership,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “If Macedonia’s leaders decide to hold elections to end this debacle and impasse in Macedonia’s political system, UMD urges all political leaders to stop manipulating the Macedonian Diaspora and allow those who are Macedonian citizens outside of Macedonia the full right to vote in the next elections.”
UMD urges all political factors in Macedonia to improve their dialogue, unite, and work for the future of Macedonia, and all Macedonian citizens regardless of ethnicity and religion. UMD hopes Macedonia’s future will not be jeopardized over political points and votes. UMD looks forward to celebrating this September 8th, Macedonia’s 20th anniversary of a free, independent, and sovereign state – a dream of Macedonia’s forefathers, which became reality in 1991. UMD urges Macedonia’s government and opposition to get their act together and give Macedonian citizens what they deserve – a socio-economically stable nation and role model in Southeast Europe and a nation whose rightful place is within Euro-Atlantic institutions such as NATO and EU.