UMD met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia, Dr. Ilinka Mitreva to discuss issues regarding the name, voting rights of the diaspora, foreign relations, etc.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – United Macedonian Diaspora representatives Ms. Hristina Bojadzieva, Mr. Steve Gligorov, Esq., Mr. Metodija A. Koloski, and Ms. Marina Veljanovska met on June 17th, 2005 with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia, Her Excellency Minister Ilinka Mitreva, the Macedonian Ambassador to Washington, D.C., His Excellency Ambassador Dimitrov, and other Macedonian Diaspora groups to discuss current issues facing Macedonia, her citizens, and all people of Macedonian National Origin in neighboring countries, in the United States, and worldwide.
The United Macedonian Diaspora representatives reassured Minister Mitreva that UMDiaspora stands firmly behind The Republic of Macedonia in regards to the name issue and that the Diaspora will not tolerate any changes to the constitutional name of the country. The Republic of Macedonia as is the case with any other country has the right to self-determination, which is enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Therefore, Macedonian Government representatives should uncompromisingly defend the name chosen by its citizens.
In regards to human and civil rights abuses against ethnic Macedonian minorities in Greece, Bulgaria, and Albania, Minister Mitreva reassured the representatives that Macedonia is doing everything possible to protect the rights of all ethnic Macedonians in the Balkans.
The United Macedonian Diaspora representatives discussed what measures must be taken between the Macedonian government and the Diaspora in order to build stronger bridges between the two. The United Macedonian Diaspora expressed that the Diaspora needs a greater voice in Macedonia, particularly the right to vote in parliamentary elections. Their recommendation to Minister Mitreva was for her to do everything in her power to insist on the reestablishment of the Matica za Iselenishstvo (the former representative voice of the Diaspora within Macedonia), or a similar type of institution, to serve as an assistance center for Macedonian people not present, or not residing, in Macedonia. The idea that the Diaspora can contribute to the democratic stability of Macedonia and the greater Balkan region, both politically and economically, was underscored before Minister Mitreva.
Minister Mitreva reaffirmed the Macedonian Government’s support and protection of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the legitimate successor of the Ohrid Archbishopric. Prior to thanking Minister Mitreva for her support, the Vice President of the American-Canadian Macedonian Orthodox Diocese, Mr. Boris Velovski raised important issues and sparked needed discussions before the parties. Minister Mitreva noted that prior to her visit to the United States, she had received the blessing and support of His Holiness, Archbishop Stefan. UMDiaspora representatives vowed to Minister Mitreva that the organization will do everything possible to protect the sovereignty and the legal rights of the Macedonian Orthodox Church against illegal and unchristian forces of the Serbian and Greek Orthodox Churches, respectively.
Other issues discussed by the United Macedonian Diaspora were the need for a Law on Foreign Relations, the need for a steadfast resolution of the Kosovo-Macedonia border issue, and the need for Macedonian citizens, temporarily residing abroad, to vote in the Macedonian embassies during elections in their homeland.