Congresswoman Miller: Honoring Boris Trajkovski

Taken from thomas.loc.gov

Statement by Rep. Candice S. Miller of Michigan

February 25, 2014

Mr. Speaker –

I rise today to honor Boris Trajkovski.

As the founder and chair of the Congressional Caucus of Macedonia and Macedonian-Americans, and having one of the largest Macedonian communities in my district, I would like to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragic and untimely passing of Macedonia’s president Boris Trajkovski, who was a great friend to the United States and the American people.

President Trajkovski and his entourage were en route to an international investment conference when his plane crashed near Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina on February 26, 2004. President Trajkovski, aged 47, left behind a wife, Vilma, and two children, Sara and Stefan. His gravestone in Macedonia reads a Biblical verse: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.”

As a member and pastor of the Methodist Church of Macedonia, President Trajkovski was a tireless advocate for religious tolerance, religious freedom, and conflict resolution. He was a man of great faith. His great faith drove him to be a man who led reconciliation throughout his region of the world. In 2002, he was awarded the World Methodist Peace Award by the World Methodist Council for his role in promoting peace and political stability.

At his inauguration ceremony in 1999, President Trajkovski promised: “I intend to be the president of all citizens of Macedonia, regardless of their ethnic or religious background, regardless of their political standing. I shall not allow ethnic hatred and intolerance to undermine Macedonia’s stability.” While deputy foreign minister, he supported U.S. and NATO-led efforts against Serbia, and allowed for NATO troops to be stationed in Macedonia, during which time Macedonia took in 400,000 Kosovar refugees.

President Trajkovski demonstrated his willingness to work with all of Macedonia’s ethnic groups, which helped to prevent a civil war. He worked to foster peace and integrate Macedonia into the international community.

Under President Trajkovski’s leadership, Macedonia was one of the first nations to publicly support NATO-efforts in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom and send troops to both, and under his leadership, Macedonia negotiated an agreement with the United States under Article 98 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, signed the agreement on June 30, 2003, and ratified the agreement on October 16, 2003, thereby helping to ensure United States citizens will not be subject to politically motivated prosecutions. On March 11, 2004, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 540 expressing the deepest sympathies and solidarity of the American people to the Macedonian people.

As a tribute to President Trajkovski, then-President Bush and then-Secretary Powell recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name Republic of Macedonia, on November 4, 2004.

President Trajkovski’s legacy remains today. His wife Vilma has dedicated her life to working to continue his work in bridging youth of all ethnic groups, promoting peace and dialogue, and religious freedom among all, and she is a tireless advocate for breast cancer research. His daughter, Sara, currently works at the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The American people will forever remember President Trajkovski’s friendship, and I hope that one day his dream of Macedonia joining NATO and the EU will become reality.

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