Zaev: No-one can deny us the right to be “Macedonian”

31 January 2019
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“No one can change the fact that I am ‘Macedonian’”, FYROM PM Zoran Zaev said during an interview on a network in Bosnia.

Speaking on Bosnia Herzegovina’s H1 television station, Zaev repeated the claim that by signing the Prespes Agreement, Greece accepted the right of self-determination for FYROM, adding: “no one can deny us any longer the right to be ‘Macedonians’ who speak the ‘Macedonian’ language in this territory”.

In his interview, Mr Zaev clarified that at no point during negotiations with Greece was any doubt cast on his national identity as “Macedonian” or the use of the “Macedonian” language used in his region with its own tradition and history.

During the interview, the PM avoided referring to his country by its new name “North Macedonia” while he said he was proud of his country and his ancestors who had fought in the past. He added the only outstanding issue was the problem with the schismatic church.

He admitted that the Prespes Agreement was the outcome of the persistence by politicians in both countries and had the full support of the US and the EU, while he explained Russia’s strong objection stemmed from the fact that it did not want to see his country enter NATO.

“We want a good relationship with Russia. We understand its stance, but more than 80% of ‘Macedonian’ citizens want the country to become a member of NATO and that must be respected. ”

As far as the opposition parties’ reactions to Athens and Skopje were concerned, he attributed them exclusively to internal political reasons.

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