Friday, 13 August 2021
Address of President Xhaferi at the Solemn Academy on the 20th anniversary of the Ohrid Framework Agreement – Beyond Ohrid
Distinguished President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Mr Stevo Pendarovski,
Distinguished President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, Mr Zoran Zaev,
Distinguished Media Representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure today, on behalf of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia and on my own behalf to be part of and have the honor to greet everyone present at this Solemn Academy, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which set the new rules of social cohesion and better inter-ethnic functioning, which was the strongest and most solid foundation on which we visibly transformed our multi-ethnic, multi-confessional and multicultural society. We have endured firmly, and as I said, we have transformed as a society, we have matured as politicians, as citizens, our horizons have opened and we managed to see the big picture we all stand before, with a common clear goal before us - the Republic of North Macedonia to be a success story for an advanced parliamentary democracy - a modern, now full-fledged NATO member, with the hope of soon becoming a member of the great European family, but above all, home to all members of different ethnic, religious, cultural communities, home of all citizens! On this road, we have the unreserved support of our international friends and strategic partners who were by our side and helped the concept and achievement of peace through open and direct political dialogue, and are still by our side now that we enjoy the results of the necessity, power and effectiveness of the Ohrid Agreement.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Ohrid Framework Agreement, the act which changed the future of our country and at the same time was our best road-map for ensuring stability, sustainability and constructive dialogue was a challenge in itself, which enabled the Republic of North Macedonia to be a success story that is an example, not only in our country but also in the wider region; an agreement that allowed for addressing issues that were related to respect for the rights of all communities, equitable and adequate representation, engagement in political and institutional decision-making; and its implementation prompted raising civic awareness in terms of understanding that the contribution of each citizen in the country is equal and that for true coexistence, the commitment of each individual is more than a valued and welcome contribution. The establishment of the Inter-Community Relations Committee and a series of other institutions are a reality resulting from the reconciliation, inter-ethnic respect and cooperation.
I and a series of other representatives being at the head of domestic institutions is a reality. The fact that I am addressing you in Albanian is a reality and a sign that we have something to be proud of, but we should not think that we have done our homework, because, as the slogan of the event says - "BEYOND OHRID", the process continues, the challenges are not exhausted and our journey as a state will be completed when we fulfill our second strategic commitment and goal, that is, after the full membership in NATO, to start negotiations with the European Union, after setting the date for holding the first intergovernmental conference Republic of North Macedonia - European Union. And then again, nothing ends here. The regard for and provision of the rights and freedoms, and certainly the obligations of every citizen in the country remain now and forever – the first, the second and the last priority of all of us!
Distinguished guests, thank you for your attention!