Osmani: North Macedonia will Never Agree that "We are One People in Two Countries"
“When discussing delicate issues, I want to make it clear - no one is negotiating identity! Language and other attributes of identity are issues that derive from the right to self-determination of every person, of every people, of every ethnic community, of every state, and this is an inviolable right, stronger than any other right. We have not negotiated on these issues, nor do we have the right to negotiate, nor will anyone ever negotiate.”
This was stated by the Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani before MPs in the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy during the presentation of the Skopje-Sofia talks.
Osmani noted that there may have been similar attempts in the past, when some were presented to “deny the identity of Macedonians”, to “one people in two countries” (i.e. Bulgarians in Bulgaria and North Macedonia). According to him, such were an attempt to impose a single view of historical truth, “but through a wise, rational, reasoned approach we were able to show that these are retrograde phenomena, do not meet the values of modern civilization and I think we succeeded in that.”
“Today we are no longer talking about identity, but only about the approach to the assertion of the right of everyone to self-determination - in accordance with the existing state order in both countries. This brings us to a set of political issues that until recently was called the 5 + 1 package”, Osmani said.
According to him, “recently a slight hysteria has begun to emerge that that ad hoc solutions to such sensitive issues are possible, and that “one can alone, overnight, behind the curtains, without the knowledge of the citizens, accept anything is a decision or agreement at the expense of state positions determined by the declaration of the Macedonian Parliament.”
Osmani stressed that the most sensitive issues are not the subject of political negotiations, but are the subject of talks between experts in the Joint Committee on Historical and Educational Affairs, which he said is an independent body.
The foreign minister hopes that in the next six months, North Macedonia will show a new picture of relations and co-operation between Sofia and Skopje, which will first be recognized by citizens, but also by “our international friends who expect from us brave solutions worthy of two mature countries”.
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