Opposition Slams FYROM PM Over “Anti-NATO” Comments

By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

FYROM PM Nikola Gruevski is harming the image of the country by tolerating anti-NATO and EU statements from within his own ranks, the main opposition party has said.

Gordan Georgiev, Vice President of the Social Democrats, SDSM, called on the PM to distance himself from remarks about NATO made by the newly appointed FYROM ambassador to the alliance, Martin Trenevski.

Speaking in front of national legislators in Parliament on July 29, Trenevski had said that NATO was inflicting “political and economic aggression upon our country” by giving support to FYROM’s southern neighbour Greece in the long-standing “name” dispute.

The SDSM accused the PM of being complicit in creating NATO and EU scepticism through his silence over the rhetoric.

Georgiev told a press conference on Tuesday: “The ruling party is the main actor working against the strategic national interests of FYROM.

“We have not heard the PM once restrain himself from such atmosphere and promoted stands.”

Gruevski’s centre-right VMRO DPMNE, which has promoted and supported Trenevski, rejected the critism as an attempt by the opposition to distort the truth.

“VMRO DPMNE has done much to bring the country closer to these organisations by supporting the continuous reform process”, the party said in a press statement.

In his remarks to parliament, Trenevski said the Bucharest summit conclusion in 2008, in which FYROM is asked to first settle the dispute with Greece before entering NATO, was a “bureaucratic” decision that later turned into a “a political position of the alliance” and he would seek support among member countries to change it.

Opposition legislators labelled Trenevski’s position “unrealisitc” and “radical”, creating the wrongfull impression that FYROM could somehow override the NATO principle of solidarity and enter NATO without making a compromise with Greece.

The previous diplomatic practice of NATO has shown that it is unlikely to reject Trenevski’s credentials, despite his comments.

The “name” row has seethed for nearly two decades, with Athens demanding Skopje change its country’s official name, Republic of Macedonia, arguing that it promotes territorial claims against its own northern province, also called Macedonia.

As well as Greece using its veto to block FYROM’s entry to NATO, it has also used the unresolved issue to bar Macedonia’s progress towards EU accession.

Written by BIRN