UMD: Macedonia’s Unitary, Sovereign Character Must Be Preserved

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) rejects the illegitimate appointment of Talat Xhaferi as speaker of the Macedonian parliament. Mr. Xhaferi – who used to go by the name Komandant Forina – is implicated as being directly responsible for the Vejce Massacre of 2001, in which eight Macedonian soldiers were ambushed, tortured and then burned alive by Albanian separatists. An alleged war criminal has no place as an elected official of the Republic of Macedonia. Mr. Xhaferi must be tried for the unconscionable criminal acts for which he has been accused, thereby providing some measure of justice for the innocent victims. Anything less is a grave injustice, and Macedonians worldwide overwhelmingly share this view.

Even if Mr. Xhaferi were not disqualified due to his involvement in the Vejce Massacre, his recent actions fomenting civil unrest and Albanian irredentism also render him unfit for any position in Macedonia’s government. Singing the national anthem of Albania, a foreign country, displaying its flag, speaking its language when delivering an address to the people of Macedonia in the Macedonian Parliament, and most notably, plotting political machinations with the prime minister of a neighboring country aimed against Macedonian national interests are treasonous acts. Mr. Xhaferi, his old commander, Ali Ahmeti, and the rest of the 2001 separatists have never demonstrated any allegiance to the flag, language, anthem and people of the Republic of Macedonia, their homeland. Rather, they are actively aiding a foreign power in hopes of partitioning off portions of Macedonia into a greater Albania.

Zoran Zaev, the leader of the SDSM Party and Nikola Gruevski, the leader of the VMRO-DPMNE Party have also overlooked broader Macedonian interests by partnering with the former UCK, and by endorsing the Amnesty Laws of 2002 and 2011. Mr. Zaev and SDSM must immediately remove their party’s support for Mr. Xhaferi as speaker of the Parliament.

Additionally, UMD is highly disappointed with the United States and the European Union for not taking a firm stand against the appointment, as well as the subsequent actions, of Mr. Xhaferi. Their behavior contradicts long-standing American and European policies that prohibit the endorsement of former terrorists for positions of power in NATO and EU candidate countries such as Macedonia. Abetting the improper appointment of a credibly accused war criminal, who is openly inciting ethnic tensions and propagating irredentism, to Speaker of the Parliament is irresponsible.

UMD calls on VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM to immediately hold bilateral discussions to explore options for forming a joint government, and it calls on all Macedonians to resist this illegal appointment. As Macedonia’s first President Kiro Gligorov said:  “Macedonia is all we have.”