Monday, 2 August 2021
Address of President Xhaferi on 2 August - the Day of the Republic
Distinguished Ministers in the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, Distinguished representatives of the Cabinet of the President of the Republic, Distinguished fellow MPs of the current and previous composition of the Assembly,
Distinguished representatives of the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff of the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia,
Distinguished representatives of the Union of Veterans of NOAVM - Peoples’ Liberation and Antifascist War of Macedonia,
Distinguished State Ombudsman of the city of Skopje,
Distinguished representatives the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia, Distinguished representatives of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MANU), Distinguished representatives of Local Self-government,
Distinguished representatives of religious communities,
Distinguished representatives of the political parties in the Assembly of Republic of North Macedonia,
Your Excellencies, representatives of the diplomatic corps in the Republic of North Macedonia,
Representatives of the media,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the Legislature, to the House of Representatives of the citizens. It is my pleasure to greet you this year and be your host in front of this building, as President of the Assembly Republic of North Macedonia, and to welcome you on my own behalf and on behalf of my fellow MPs in this parliamentary composition at today's solemn marking of 2 August – the Day of the Republic – 118 years of the Krusevo Republic in 1903, and 77 years of the First Assembly of ASNOM in 1944, which represent the two foundation stones of the statehood of the country. The fact that we are here today, and we are not in Krusevo, or in Pelince, or in front of the monument of Metodija Andonov Cento, does not make any difference in terms of the importance of this holiday, in terms of its longevity or in terms of where the spirit of togetherness, courage and vision rests, that is, the concept that describes the common values that we praise and celebrate. The holiday is not tied to a specific place in the Republic of North Macedonia, but it lives, it is born again and again, with each new day, with each new generation of young people who face new challenges every day, who fight their personal and collective battles for a better tomorrow, for a better life, professional development and upgrading, and a secure and safe future. Our state is a fusion of diversity – a unique mosaic in which each unique part grew and developed on its roots – which was and still is a confirmation of the longevity and perseverance of the peoples who lived and were part of this region. If we look at the Krusevo Manifesto, if we look at the documents of ASNOM from 1944, we will see that the general and special human rights and freedoms are clearly defined, thus clearly defining the multiethnic, multicultural and multi-confessional character of our country, and we will be convinced that history, the events through it, have themselves determined the path to be followed, if one follows the reason that has imposed the need to unite towards the only, natural and achievable ultimate goal, which is a common home for all with a clear vision, wisdom and reason, for all who have overcome the narrow and selfish framework, opened their minds and strongly embraced the blessings offered by mutual respect and cooperation, accepting the expression of the characteristics and peculiarities of each ethnic community, the expression of culture, language, identity symbols, as a natural right that is a new added value of our country, and furthermore, given the structure in the neighborhood and the region – an added value in the region and beyond,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It was certainly not easy to endure during the years of growth and development of the country, it was not easy to maintain peace and strengthen the security and safety of the borders and our citizens, it was not easy to maintain economic stability. The Republic of North Macedonia, no matter how small in territory, has a significant geo-strategic importance and was not out of the global developments, and consequently, those developments spilled over and had an impact on the development path of the country. However, the desire for a common, free and independent state prevailed, a state in which respect for human rights and freedoms will be equal for all citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion or any other affiliation, and our country is pointed out as a shining example and success story in region. Certainly, the fact that we have become the 30th member of the powerful military-political alliance of NATO supports the conclusion that we are moving in the right direction. We have made difficult, state decisions that have unblocked our path to Euro-Atlantic integration and on that path we have matured politically, both we as politicians and our citizens. However, we previously committed ourselves to establishing and building good neighbourly relations, although it seems that, unfortunately, things got complicated again. The dispute with the Republic of Bulgaria makes it difficult for us to move towards the European family, although we were and still are open to honest dialogue, taught by our years-long experience with another neighbouring country that only open dialogue is the right way to reach mutually acceptable solutions. And let me follow up on the recently adopted Resolution for determining the Macedonian state positions in the context of the blockade of the European integration, which was adopted in the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia on 29 July 2021 with a unanimous positive vote of MPs of various backgrounds.
Isn't that the best confirmation of mutual respect, of fighting a common battle to keep alive the dream of all known and unknown heroes who have given the most precious over the years? Together, yes! Because there is one constant, and that is that neither the good nor the bad chooses by name, nation, religion, nor by sex category, social or economic status, nor does it choose by political affiliation – simply, everything happens in an instant, we are all equally standing upright before the new moment. And such moments existed, as evidenced by written history, living testimonies, songs sung and narrated oral traditions. Such moments of challenge exist now and I believe you are familiar with them in this unusual time of global pandemic that has swept the world and brought to its knees both the strongest economies and the most prepared health systems. The great truth was confirmed once again that only together, only united and unified can we win, we can defeat Covid-19 in this case. On that road, we suffered many irreversible losses, human above all, but also material losses, and I hope that we have learned a lesson that is more than known to the people, but it seems that only with personal experience can we be convinced, and that is the preciousness of our health, the health of our citizens.
Today, when we celebrate the Day of the Republic, we can not but mention the jubilee that is ahead, the 8 September – 30 years since the declaration of independence of the state. Full 30 years of independent, sovereign, free state. Years in which we experienced a lot, we had victories and defeats, we had the right decisions, and sometimes the wrong ones, but we also learned lessons that helped us transform into a better and more advanced society. This year we celebrate another jubilee – the 20th anniversary of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which set the new structure for our interethnic cohesion by establishing the new rules of social cohesion which will be the strongest and most solid foundation on which we will all build our Euro- Atlantic future. With that Peace Treaty, the journey continued, and there is still much to be done, there are still many bridges to build, bridges of friendship, good neighbourliness and bridges of connection, inside and outside the state, in the region and beyond, however, everything is easier when we are all together, united, with a common vision and goal.
Allow me to express my respect to you because, regardless of all the ups and downs, regardless of the hardships and crises we have gone through, you – the citizens, regardless of ethnic, religious, political or any other affiliation – did not allow the spirit of unity, coexistence and tolerance be disturbed. These are the values that you have upheld throughout our common history, values that you uphold in everyday life, because you have always known how to share the beautiful, and not so beautiful moments that life brings. We have a common state and we are all responsible to preserve and develop it, for us and for future generations. It is our obligation to all those who fought for such a civil state, a society of all citizens in which our children, grandchildren and future generations who deserve to live, grow, be educated and create in a European Republic of North Macedonia, a modern and prosperous state of European citizens.
Thank you for your attention, I wish you a wonderful festive day!