26.10.2012

President Nikolić pays an official visit to Macedonia

SKOPJE – President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic and President of Macedonia Djordje Ivanov addressed a message today in Skopje that the two countries should cooperate as closely as possible since they are faced with similar obstacles along their European path and urged that all the outstanding issues among the countries in the region be resolved through dialogue.

The two Presidents assessed that the relations between Serbia and Macedonia were on a high level and concluded that the outstanding ones could be resolved and that they should not prevent the two countries from looking into their common European future.

“Since both Serbia and Macedonia are facing a similar problem of joining the European Union, we should commit ourselves to close as possible mutual cooperation. If both of our countries demonstrated that they had implemented the relevant regulations and met the required criteria, our goal would be accomplished sooner and we would be able to convince the other countries of the former Yugoslavia that it is only through cooperation that we could all become part of the European Union”, said Nikolić.

 

He further stated that it was not by mere chance that Macedonia was the first country he visited in the region and underlined that this gesture reflected that Serbia considered as friendly countries both the countries which have and those which have not recognized Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence.

Serbia and Macedonia have an interwoven past, common future and shared objectives, including the common goal to join the European Union. Although we are facing problems along our EU path, we are making an effort to organize Serbia and Macedonia according to the best standards and to free our countries from bribery, corruption and crime, as well as to regulate the area of human and minority rights and freedoms”, said Nikolic.

 

If Serbia and Macedonia were to act in compliance with the wishes of their peoples, stated Nikolić, the two countries would be linked by the strongest possible ties.

The Macedonian President agreed that the two countries were facing similar obstacles on their European path and underlined that the only way of overcoming these obstacles was through dialogue.

 

 

“It is necessary to talk, because only talks may lead to solutions”, said Ivanov, adding that, for that reason, Macedonia is interested in conducting talks with its southern neighbour, impeding Macedonia on its progress towards EU integration.

"I am hopeful that a solution will be found, for if there is a will, there is a way”, stated Ivanov.

 

He expressed his satisfaction that Macedonia was the first country in the region to be visited by the Serbian President and added that the talks were held in the spirit of good-neighbourliness, focused primarily on the major topics of European integration, as well as the improvement of the situation in the region, economic cooperation and trade.....

The two Presidents agreed that the conflict between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Macedonian Orthodox Church should be resolved through dialogue between the two religious communities and added that, as Presidents of their respective countries, they would contribute to the successful outcome of that process.

The Serbian President expressed his gratitude to the state leadership of Macedonia for making it possible for the Serbian delegation to attend the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Balkan Wars in Kumanovo.

"During the First Balkan War, the Serbian armies waged all their great battles in the territory of Macedonia. Both Kosovo and Metohija and Skopje liberated themselves at the same time from the rule of the Ottoman Empire”, said the Serbian President.

 

President Nikolić also met with the President of the Macedonian Parliament Trajko Veljanoski, whereafter he said that Serbia and Macedonia had a common past and should also build a common future.

 

Nikolić emphasized that the two countries are “side by side” looking forward to their common future in the European Union, but that they sought respect along that road.

"The free flow of people and goods, fight against crime and corruption, establishment of the rule of law....are all European values to which we aspire, but what we are looking for is to be respected. For us, there are no small nations,” Nikolić said.

 

 

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski gave a formal reception in honour of President Nikolić.

Gruevski also gave an official dinner for President Nikolić and his delegation, at the traditional restaurant “Vodenica” in Skopje.

 

Before the dinner, Nikolić attended a reception at the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, which brought together numerous members of the Serbian diaspora in Macedonia, representatives of the Serbian parties in that country, guests from the host country and Macedonian company representatives.

Tomorrow, Nikolić will visit three Serbian households at Sretenovo and, together with the President of Macedonia, attend the traditional “Rakijada” (brandy festival) at Valandovo. On the third day of his visit, President Nikolić will attend the ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Kumanovo and lay a wreath to the fallen heroes.