The NATO summit in Chicago is starting in a few hours. Why are you not there?
Because Macedonia will not get a membership invitation, which it deserves according to international law, but also in line with all human, moral norms, principles and achievements. We have been getting information for months that we should not expect an invitation to join NATO.
If we still get the invitation, would you go?
Who will represent Macedonia at the summit?
There will be a high-level representation of Macedonia in Chicago. According to me, even higher than normal, taking into account the circumstances, when a country is subjected to injustice, lack of principles and double-standard policy, and on top of it, the country is told it should feel guilty for this and show understanding for the one who is doing the injustice and acts as if responsible. This is not only a problem for Macedonia, it is obviously a problem for the Alliance, much bigger than only formal. This is an essential problem from a political, moral and legal point of view, in the sense of rule of law, and NATO has no response to this. Therefore, this is not an issue only of Macedonia and Greece, but an issue of NATO too.
And when I am referring to being in Chicago, I say attendance, not participation. The summit is intended for member-states, we are only a candidate country, which is used when needed, but when we need NATO, we get lessons in politics and the importance of the principle of solidarity and consensus, in the sense there is no justice in politics when it comes to the relationship between the more powerful and the less powerful. And then we should feel guilty that we had not known this, or understand there is no justice or injustice in politics, but reality or interests. This is classical distortion of the essence and the main goal of politics, which according to me is to create values, and not protect material interests at any prices.
And what else? That the injustice should be a normal thing in our moral values, whereas disrespect of international law by the more powerful something that is called political reality. And that we should learn to be faced with injustice because we are smaller and less powerful. Instead of we being the ones who are angry, they are angry at us because we are angry at injustice that comes from the big powers.
Still, the Foreign Minister will be in Chicago?
The Foreign Minister, the President, the Ambassador to NATO and many others. Personally, if I was the President, I would not go, and I am not sure if the minister should be there in circumstances of such ignoring by NATO in the past. Maybe his deputy would have been our real representation, taking into account the obvious lack of interest by the most powerful countries in NATO towards Macedonia, as well as their obvious interest to be at the service of Greece at any price, taking the burden - if they see it as burden - of the utterly unprincipled and incorrect conduct towards a country, which they have mistreated for years regarding membership, but is always invited when needed, whether in times of its necessity as a logistical base such as the case with the 1999 intervention in Serbia, or when they needed our presence in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places where allies were required. Then they require our army, our presence, our flag, our determination.
An example of the distortion I am referring to. I don't know how certain representatives of leading NATO countries address us or slander us of missing a chance with Papandreou, but also use similar diplomatic terms that, to be frank, make me sick when hearing them. I have not witnessed for a long time such hypocrisy, such policy of double standards, such lack of principles and distancing from the values they publicly promote, as in the case with Macedonia. On the top of that, we have the International Court of Justice ruling that is beneficial for us. I know that some politicians believe they are strong enough to do this and no one can do anything, but there is a rule which says that when someone lacks principles in continuity, all alies, friends and associates will lose confidence in time.
When saying this I do not refer to everyone, since there are a lot of countries, politicians and diplomats in NATO who openly, sincerely and publicly support us. They criticize when we deserve it, but they always stick by principles rather than the grand interest. I would like to thank our sincere friends, who support us and fight for us in spite of all challenges. I know my thesis can be taken out of context and someone can manipulate with it, but I say this sincerely and with my head held high, because I am talking about my country, my people, their perspective, and I do not intend to be silent in this regard.
What will you do during the NATO summit?
I will be in Macedonia in the coming days after the return from China, where we had a week-long presentation of Macedonia's investment opportunities before about 500 companies. I fight for every friend, for every investor, for every citizen with all my heart, I invest everything into securing a better and more prosperous future for our citizens and their generations.
I will travel for Turin, Milan and Rome next week, where we will hold presentations before groups of investors, followed by a reception with the Pope and the Vatican PM, in the framework of the celebrations of the holy Cyril and Methodius.
I know there is no hope of altering the Chicago agenda with my presence. Therefore, I will work on something that has hope, to attract some company to Macedonia and employ people.
With regards to NATO lobbying, we have done everything in our power over the past 7-8 months. Together with the President and the ministers we knocked on every door, we visited literally all member-states and our conscience is clear.
Who is, according to you, the main culprit for the situation we are in?
The main culprit for our failure to join NATO has a name - Greece. Undoubtedly, this is a country that has halted our progress for the past two decades, investing enormous resources in this, spending political credits, using the name issue in internal politics and populist propaganda. This is done for the sole purpose of changing the country's name, the name of our people, the name of our language, our identity. While they fussed the people in Greece by showing muscles towards Macedonia, by endangering the future of two million people, we are seeing now what they have been doing behind the scenes, bringing the country into the current state.
However, there are talks there is a chance to work out a better conclusion at the summit?
For me, only a membership invitation can be a good or better conclusion. Everything else is throwing dust in one's eyes. Therefore, I would like to say that all other speculation regarding certain formulation in the conclusions, commas etc are completely beyond the reality and the result of this summit. And the result is that Macedonia will not get a membership invitation. There is nothing in between, no commas, nothing more, nothing less, either there is or isn't an invitation.
Conclusions are a diplomatic game without borders. Interest and power wins at the end. This is small solace of the bir powers when they abuse the small ones. They give them a certain conclusion as hope, as means to control the deep frustration caused by injustice. Even if they figure out a new conclusion that differs from the Bucharest one, it will mean nothing as long as one, two or three NATO member-states, the most powerful ones, decide to oppose Greece's policy, which is characteristic for the 19. century. That is why I am saying that whatever the conclusion, nothing will change the situation unless there is a membership invitation. And then we should rejoice for weeks, debating the conclusion, saying at the end that America, Germany, France and others are our big friends and that we are indebted to them.
Do you think they are not our friends?
Unfortunately, this is not a question of friendship or good intentions, but one of interest and classical demonstration of power. It seems as if there are no friendships in international politics at this time, or as if the word has lost importance.
This means you do not consider these countries as our friends?
If you insist on the word friends, I will respond in this way. I consider them my friends, but at the same time, they are closer friends of Greece. Such has been the case in the past 21 years, and that is why Greece has managed to mistreat us to the utter limit without facing serious consequences. If the situation was opposite, for example, if Greece did not meet its commitments resulting from an ICJ judgment towards America, Germany or France, it would have been faced with UN Security Council sanctions. The same would go if we did not meet our commitments when it comes to Greece. Just look at what is happening in the EU, they literally beg Greece not to exit the euro zone.
Do you believe that international law is implemented selectively?
Absolutely. There are many specific examples of this, but ours is one of the most obvious. I deeply believe and am certain that Barack Obama himself is aware of Greece's injustice towards Macedonia, but probably has other reasons why he cannot say this. He is a man of flesh and blood, he also has consciousness, emotions and reason. Many people behave differently in everyday life from what they think within due to certain reasons or interests at the given time.
Still, most officials of NATO member-states have clearly said that the accession requires consensus, and that NATO rules say that every country can block the accession of another?
I would sustain this as an argument if NATO states put Macedonia's accession on the agenda of the NATO summit and put Greece on the spot, so that it can violate international law again and put a veto following the Hague ruling. Only then NATO will not have any guilt or lack principles. But this will not happen.
However, you knew that the principle of solidarity is valid in NATO?
No NATO act reads that all countries should demonstrate solidarity with a member-state if it violates the international law, if it imposes injustice to another country. This is not solidarity. Word solidarity is used for other issues. For example, if a country is attacked from outside, then all others are engaged in its defense. Look, I do not want this to seem as if I am delivering a lecture to the big powers or sound pathetic. No. I am indebted before my people to say the truth. And the truth is just like this.
What interests are at stake in the case with Greece?
There are many, starting from the Diaspora voting in another country, funding of campaigns by Greek billionaires, large weapon procurements, EU relations, where everyone can block the other for everything, or support for that matter. The list is long.
Then, how should be proceed?
We will continue to act with principles, in a much more European manner compared to certain Union member-states. We will not halt the reforms, which are primarily important for ourselves, but we will continue to hold active talks in finding a solution, and wait for our historic chance. And we will use it. Just as our ancestors worked tirelessly for the achievement of their ideals, continually and patiently, using their historic chances in 1944 and 1991.
Are you still prepared for a compromise in order to solve the name problem?
Absolutely. I will continue to work hard on this.
Domestic critics accuse you of irritating Greeks by erecting certain monuments, putting names on highways and airports?
Having in mind the injustice and damage Greece is doing to us, I don't know why even the word irritation is used. If we irritate them, what word can be used for the thing they are doing to us. This is complete distortion of theses. There is no greater irritation than 20 years of blocking, denial, underestimation, financial damage to the people and the country, even tensions. This is not irritation, but a crime on a nation and a state. They should not expect us to think whether something will irritate them until this crime is imposed to us. What we ask is justice in order to get what we deserve. We have no pretensions or want something bad to happen to anyone, we only want stability, progress and membership in Eu and NATO.
What is the role of the Macedonian opposition in this situation?
I do not intend to enter into quarrels with the Macedonian opposition. This issue is too important, a strategic issue of Macedonia's foreign policy, which means not only prosperity, but also stability. Is there a prime minister who would not want his country to join EU and NATO in his time. No. There is no need to dispute with the opposition over this topic, where everything is clear. Instead of conducting witch hunts, it would be best if citizens unify and continue together on the path of reforms. Therefore, if someone asks what is Macedonia's alternative after Chicago, the answer is - reforms! Investing all of our strength, without stopping and hesitation. History will find a place for everything else.