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It’s easy to say what’s good or bad when you’re 800 kilometers away, Jankuloska tells Gruevski

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Former minister of interior Gordana Jankuloska responded to fugitive ex-prime minister Nikola Gruevski’s statement on his Facebook page. It’s easy to advocate what’s good or bad when you’re far away from problems, she tells Gruevski, who fled to Hungary escaping jail sentence in his own country.

“When you are far away from the problems, 800 kilometers away from Macedonia, it is easy to post on social media and say what is easy or difficult, pardoning yourself for all problematic decisions that someone else is always responsible for and ignoring the reality – what is happening to Macedonia today – among other things, is because of a number of missed opportunities in the past,” Jankuloska wrote on her Facebook page.

Earlier, the fugitive former prime minister who has been granted political asylum in Hungary, wrote on Facebook that Thursday night was the last chance for members of parliament to change their mind ahead of key vote to change the Constitution.

Macedonia’s lawmakers gather from Wednesday, January 9, to vote on changing their country’s name to settle a decades-long dispute with Greece and open the way to NATO and EU membership.

But the switch to “the Republic of North Macedonia”, as agreed under the Prespa accord is an uphill task involving four constitutional amendments and the support of two thirds of the 120-member parliament. If the change does go through, Athens has promised to lift its veto on Macedonia’s attempts to join NATO and the European Union.

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Macedonia

Nimetz looks forward to completion of process as outlined in Prespa Agreement

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Matthew Nimetz, the UN envoy who brokered Macedonia-Greece deal on the name dispute, has asked Athens to ratify the deal as Skopje has completed its internal legal procedures.

“On 16 January 2019 the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia formally delivered to the Government of the Hellenic Republic a Note Verbale with reference to the Prespa Agreement of 17 June 2018, and related amendments to its Constitution, which states that it “has completed the necessary internal legal procedures for the entry into force of the Agreement, in accordance with its Constitution”. A copy of the Note Verbale was also delivered to me as the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General and signatory-witness to the Prespa Agreement,” Nimtz says in the statement.

“Upon the notification by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia of the completion of the related constitutional amendments and its internal legal procedures for the entry into force of the Agreement, consideration and subsequently proceeding with the ratification of the Agreement by the Hellenic Republic, through its national processes, would be in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Prespa Agreement.”

“I look forward to completion of the process as outlined in the Agreement. As in the past, the United Nations remains committed to working with the two parties in finally resolving the difference between them,” reads the statement of Matthew Nimetz, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, on the next steps towards the implementation of the Prespa Agreement.

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Macedonia

Gruevski drops defamation lawsuit against Zaev

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Macedonia’s fugitive ex-prime minister Nikola Gruevski has dropped slander lawsuit targeting incumbent Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

The case the then-prime minister Nikola Gruevski filed against the then-opposition leader, now incumbent prime minister Zoran Zaev, accusing him of slandering in connection with sellout of a local bank, has been dropped.

Defendant Zoran Zaev will be dismissed from lawsuit on slander claims, sources in Skopje court confirmed to Makfax.

Skopje 2 District Court told Makfax that the plaintiff had notified the court that he has dropped slander, libel claims that he had filed against Zoran Zaev in 2015.

The suit, relating to the sellout of Makedonska Banka, alleged conspiracy, libel, and sought 50.000 euros in punitive damages.

In 2015, the then-opposition leader Zaev blamed the then-PM Gruevski of taking 1.5 million euros in kickbacks. Zaev also blamed Gruevski of tax evasion, saying he had inflicted EUR225.000 damage to the national budget. Gruevski himself sold out ‘Makedonska Banka’ to a controversial Serbian businessman Jovica Stefanovic alias Nini. “Gruevski is the father of crime in Macedonia,” Zaev said in 2015.

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Macedonia

Macedonia’s delegation takes part in PACE Winter Session

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Macedonian parliament delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), led by Betijan Kitev, the head of the delegation, will take part in the first part of the five-day Winter Session of the PACE in Strasbourg, France, 21-25 January.

On the occasion of the Winter Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the President of Finland will deliver a speech. In addition, the Finnish Foreign Minister will present the Communication from the Committee of Ministers and the Organisation’s Secretary General will address the Assembly.

The Assembly will hold a joint debate on public service media in the context of disinformation and propaganda and media freedom as a condition for democratic elections. It will also discuss Internet governance and human rights.

During its session, PACE is due to update guidelines for fair referendums and will examine the compatibility of Sharia law with the European Convention on Human Rights. It is also invited to assess if withdrawing nationality as a measure to combat terrorism is a human rights-compatible approach and it will discuss the promotion of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities

Other debates will focus on fighting impunity by targeted sanctions in the case of Sergei Magnitsky and others, ensuring better follow-up to recommendations by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and the progress of PACE’s monitoring procedure in 2018, together with periodic reviews of the honouring of obligations by Iceland and Italy.
A second joint debate will focus on discrimination in access to employment and the need for a disability-inclusive workforce.

Two urgent debates have been requested, one on “Open Russian aggression against Ukraine: disruption of the peace process and a threat to European security” and a second one on “the worsening situation of opposition politicians in Turkey: what to do to protect their fundamental rights in a Council of Europe member State?”.

At a short ceremony in the plenary on 21 January, PACE members will pledge to take action in their national parliaments to eradicate sexism, harassment and violence against women, following the initiative by the Assembly’s President #NotInMyParliament.

The Assembly will decide its final agenda on the opening day of the session.

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