Question: What is happening now in Macedonia is basically another colour revolution. It is the Ukrainian scenario or at least its beginning stage. What do you think, has the time finally come for Europe to react to these revolutions with more urgency? Perhaps at the preliminary stage of the coups it is advisable to involve international instruments such as the OSCE and the UN Security Council, in order to prevent this from becoming a common practice of changing power in countries?
Sergey Lavrov: I totally agree with you. This is a cause for grave concern. The current events in Macedonia are being orchestrated rather unsubtly by external parties. There are attempts to accuse Nikola Gruevski’s government of incompetence and failure to fulfil his obligations to the nation, as well as great many other sins. The real motive is to put pressure on him because of his refusal to join the sanctions against Russia. We know for certain that this pressure is also a result of his support for the South Stream project at the time when he counted on it to benefit Macedonia. Now he is willing to cooperate in other energy supply projects between Russian and southern Europe, including the Turkish Stream. It is truly regrettable and disturbing that they are trying to use the Albanian issue to undermine Gruevski’s government.
Many years ago, there were indeed some dramatic clashes between Slavic people and Albanians. This is when the Ohrid Agreement was signed, establishing peace and concord [13.8.2013]. Later, when, in our discussions with the EU, we raised the issue of rights of Russians and Russian-speaking people in Estonia and Latvia, we asked, “Why did you support the Ohrid Agreement and provided Albanians in Macedonia with a substantial scope of rights but you can’t do the same for Russians in Estonia and Latvia?” There was no answer. However, the conflict in Macedonia was settled at the time.
Now there are talks that Macedonia must be even deeper “federalised”, turned into a “flexible federation” or maybe even a “confederation.” Someone even suggested that it should be divided, because of its “artificial” (as they put it) nature, between Bulgaria and Albania. Without reference to Macedonia, the prime minister in Tirana is generally declaring slogans of Greater Albania. Leaders of the Albanian parties in Macedonia use to go to Tirana for instructions. Meanwhile, the US ambassador in Skopje is inviting leaders of political parties and opposition to his office. In late April, there was even a visit organised for permanent representatives of several Western countries and the EU with the OSCE. Some five or six officials without a mandate from the OSCE Permanent Council went to Skopje, called themselves “an OSCE mission”, and presented some “recipes” and demands for Nikola Gruevski. To prevent similar activity in the future, we made a request with the OSCE headquarters, the OSCE Secretary General and the OSCE Chairman (current Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic) to deal with this matter and explain how anything like this could have happened.
Considering this number of self-appointed mediators, in my yesterday’s address to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe I proposed that the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and perhaps also the OSCE Secretary General visit Skopje, talk to all the participants in this process and make recommendations for consideration by inter-governmental institutions.
This is a very serious matter. I think you are right and, if any similar cases occur in the future, it is necessary to take more prompt preventive measures and request that international organisations send their independent experts and secretariat representatives, and report later. Decisions must be made by official and legitimate bodies rather than behind the scenes. •
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