Macedonia President Appeals on Name Issue

resizer25Macedonia’s outgoing President Branko Crvenkovski has made a last ditch appeal as Head of State to the government to increase its efforts and find a quick compromise with Greece on the so-called ”name” row.

In his farewell meeting with the press before he formally steps down on May 12, Crvenkovski said that in difficult times Macedonia needs ”true leaders” who take responsibility for making ”unpopular” but ”right” decisions.

“I never calculated my ratings and the current public opinion” when making decisions, he said. “In difficult times the country needs leadership that will take responsibility for making difficult decisions, and I believe that those decisions will be supported by history.”

He said some compromise with Greece will have to be made for the greater good of the country, reacting media said to Prime Minister’s Nikola Gruevski’s more hard line policy towards the issue.

The outgoing president noted that during his five year term the US recognised Macedonia under its constitutional name and the country became a candidate for EU membership. He expressed regret that Macedonia failed to enter NATO, after Greece vetoed his country’s entry into the Alliance.

“I see as my own, every failure of the country during my term,” he said. But added: “My responsibility goes as far as my decisions influenced these failures. Where other state institutions had their final say despite my disagreement, they must take the responsibility.”

At his farewell visit to the EU last month, Crvenkovski compared the challenges that face his country regarding the ongoing dispute with Greece to the compromises the country made when it signed the Ohrid Peace Agreement in 2001 that ended the armed crisis between the Macedonian government and ethnic Albanian rebels, saying that sometimes governments must make unpopular decisions for the greater good of the country.

He said an agreement with Greece would have to be reached, regardless of public opinion, and noted that while the Ohrid Agreement was not popular at the time, the majority of both Macedonians and the country’s Albanians now think it was an excellent compromise.

At the meeting, the outgoing president presented his book about the time he spent as president. Observers say he is heading back to his previous position as a leader of Macedonia’s opposition, the Social Democrats.

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