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Zaev: Prank phone calls don’t necessarily mean Russia is waging special war

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“I deem the funny prank calls that I was tricked into are private, i.e. the Russian Federation has nothing to do with it,” Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said on Thursday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Aracinovo gas station.

Russian Ambassador Sergey Bazdnikin attended the event today.

“We must not allow such things stand in the way of our friendly relations with Russia,” PM Zaev said. Russia is not waging a special war against North Macedonia, he added.

PM Zaev is set to meet with the Russian Ambassador today, a meeting the prime minister claims was agreed 10 days ago.

Zaev told the reporters Thursday that he spoke with presidents of Kosovo and Serbia, Hashim Thaci and Aleksandar Vucic, to apologize for any inconvenience that might have been caused by his saying during the conversation with the fake Poroshenko, alluding to the prank phone call made by Russian comedians.

Russian Ambassador, who attended the opening ceremony at Skopje’s nearby village of Aracinovo, left the event with no statement for media. During his speech, Ambassador Bazdnikin said Russia is interested in boosting investments in North Macedonia, “furthering cooperation between the two countries and their brotherly nations”.

Zaev admitted earlier this week that he was deceived by two Russian pranksters, but rejected opposition calls to resign for being tricked. Pretending to be Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko, Russian comedy duo famous for hoax phone calls, had reportedly called Zaev three times in the past two years. A 54-minute audio recording of phone calls with Zaev, who was speaking English, was released on YouTube on Tuesday, July 9.

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Macedonia

North Macedonia, Serbia sign memorandum of cooperation to facilitate digitalization

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North Macedonia’s Ministry of Information Society and Administration and Serbian Government’s  Office on Information Technologies and Electronic Administration have signed a memorandum of cooperation to promote innovation and drive digital transformation.

Minister of Information Society and Administration, Damja Mancevski underlined the importance of digital transformation in improving the every day’s life of the citizens, by use of simple tools to access the services needed.

“The Government is committed to transparency, improving efficiency in public service delivery, accountability in the work of institutions. Therefore, we decided to change and upgrade the wib-sites of the Government and all Ministries. That’s how we put in motion our pledges set out in the Public Administration Reform Strategy, in an effort to secure accessibility of all institutions,” Mancevski said.

Serbia’s Jovanovic said the Memorandum of Cooperation aims to facilitate digital transformation. The Memo is a result of good cooperation between the Prime Ministers of Serbia and North Macedonia, Ana Brnbic and Zoran Zaev. Furthermore, it reflects the visible results of Serbian Government in terms of digitalization of public administration and launch of ‘Serbia digitalizes’ project.

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Macedonia

SDSM: Mickoski evades party leader meeting

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The ruling Social Democrats blamed the leader of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party of trying to block reform drive and hurt the country. “Hristijan Mickoski is running away from party leader meeting,” the SDSM said on Friday.

“He objects the census, yet he doesn’t want to sit at the table and talk. Mickoski wants the country’s population to remain officially uncounted for early two decades. The country does not  keep track of its population for 18 years. He follows in the footsteps of VMRO-DPMNE’s criminal wing. Mickoski is against justice. He is against rule of law and non-selective justice. He remains adamantly opposed to the ‘equality before the law’ principle. Mickoski is running away from talks on public prosecution law,” the Social Democrats said in a statement.

The ruling party claims Mickoski is allegedly making a push for snap election, but actually, he doesn’t want to talk about electoral code, because he knows he will be defeated.

“SDSM will not allow destructions. SDSM stands firm against any attempt to hinder the progress and reform drive. Any attempt to harbor Nikola Gruevski will fail, any attempt to cover for Gruevski’s wrongdoing will fail,” the ruling party said.

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Macedonia

North Macedonia, South Korea establish diplomatic ties

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South Korea has formally established diplomatic relations with North Macedonia, Yonhap news agency quotes the Seoul-based foreign ministry as saying on Thursday.

Ambassador to the United Nations Cho Tae-yul signed the joint communique with Sanja Zografska Krsteska, North Macedonia’s charge d’affaires at the U.N. on Thursday, the ministry said.

North Macedonia is the 191st country to have established formal ties with South Korea.

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