UMD: Ohrid Framework Agreement Is Flawed; Rule of Law Must Prevail

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is deeply concerned over recent developments in Macedonia that have been caused by the Macedonian-Albanian political leaders and officials.  UMD calls on the Macedonian government to ensure that the rule of law prevails and not pardon these acts due to the controversial Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA) of 2001.  UMD has long believed that the OFA is a deeply flawed document, which is further dividing Macedonian society. 

“Following the incidents of the Albanian national flag being flown all over the western parts of Macedonia and the Albanian national anthem being played at the opening of the school year in many schools, UMD believes that the Macedonian government and its citizens need to undertake a full comprehensive review of the OFA, in light of the reality of its impact.  If Macedonian citizens, especially other minorities, such as the Roma, Vlachs, and Turks, can pledge their allegiance to Macedonia, as proud citizens of Macedonia, why can’t the Albanian minority do the same?” said UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov.  “How would Americans feel if the public schools along the Mexican border raised only the Mexican flag and played only the Mexican national anthem, without the American anthem?  Clearly, the OFA is part of the problem, and not the solution it has been hailed as by some over the last 11 years.”

“In addition, throughout 2011 and 2012, Macedonian society has witnessed a series of tragic incidents by radical Islamic elements.  From the church burning in Struga and the Easter Good Friday killings of five innocent citizens, to the youth protests chanting ‘Death to Christians’ while waving the Al-Qaeda flags, and the recent Defense Minister’s honoring of former NLA terrorists, these events should all be a wake up call to the international community that the rise of radical Islamic elements are widely present and active in the Balkans.  The OFA must not be mistaken as a carte-blanche document that allows widespread irredentism,” said UMD Vice President and Advisory Council Chair Aleksandar Mitreski. 

“Foreign diplomats who offer unqualified praise to the OFA should take a closer look at the wisdom of great civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., not former terrorists like Ali Ahmeti,” said UMD Director of Communications Mark Branov.  “Today, in Macedonia, the OFA has forced the segregation of public schools along ethnic lines, further dividing Macedonian society.  A progressive approach would bring all youth together, no matter their ethnicity, and not separate them into ethnic ghettos.”

Branov added: “Segregation, ethnic quotas, and many other dangerous provisions in the OFA do not serve the unitary character of Macedonia, despite the OFA’s preamble to the contrary.  Since no piece of paper can ever prevent terrorist attacks or guarantee security, the OFA fails miserably to foster the creation of a more tolerant society.”

Although the OFA states “Macedonia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the unitary character of the State are inviolable and must be preserved, and that there are no territorial solutions to ethnic issues,” the rest of its contents undermine these concepts. Today, parts of the Macedonian-Albanian community appear to be still working toward the idea of a “Greater Albania,” which causes further ethnic tensions in the region. Clearly, the OFA has failed miserably to guarantee security, and if that’s the case, then what benefit does it have for Macedonia?  UMD calls on the international community, especially the U.S. and the EU, to urge ethnic Albanians in Macedonia to work actively towards the well-being of the Republic of Macedonia.

UMD, as the largest non-governmental organization representing Macedonians abroad, will continue to monitor the situation in Macedonia and bring forth our concerns and views to the public.  The mentioning of the OFA in this press release does not entail endorsement by the UMD in any way.

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