Interviews and Speeches

An address by Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, on the occasion of marking 29 April, the Day of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

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Distinguished colleagues,

Dear friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Today, I have the exceptionally pleasant obligation to address you on the occasion of marking 29 April, the Day of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This year marks the 11th year of celebrating this day since it was proclaimed as the Day of our ministry in 2007. We continue with the keeping of this beautiful tradition to mark this significant day for the creation and development of Macedonian diplomacy.

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Our history as an institution started on this day, exactly 49 years ago – on 29 April 1969, here in Skopje, when the seeds of the Macedonian diplomatic service were planted with the establishment of the Bureau for Foreign Relations. Following our independence in 1991, this body was transformed into the Secretariat for Foreign Relations, until three years later it finally received the name it still bears today – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia;

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Our history is relatively brief, yet very significant. It has had an exceptional contribution to the building of modern Macedonia and it was crucial to its international establishment as an equal country, side by side with the other countries in the world. Macedonia which respects international principles and rules, Macedonia which helps others when they are in need, and most importantly, Macedonia – a modern, stable and European democracy which always chooses the path of peace and dialogue;

Even though this history is relatively brief, it is filled with years of big challenges – challenges which, when facing us, at times have perhaps seemed difficult and insurmountable, but have not shaken our resolution and endurance, as well as our duty to serve the Republic of Macedonia and its citizens. On the contrary, they have always been an additional impetus for even greater dedication and realisation of our strategic goals and interests;

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Even today, challenges are not lacking. On the contrary, only a year ago, the Republic of Macedonia was on the edge of an abyss. After years of a difficult political crisis, crumbling of morality and policy of non-accountability, our country was in an invidious position – with shaky foundations at home, internationally isolated, without enough friends, scared, closed in itself and in a strategic dead end.

In less than a year, encouraged by civil vigilance and activism, we succeeded in restoring the country's international reputation. We have transformed Macedonia from a country in crisis into a country which is associated with hope and opportunities; a country devoted to strengthening its democracy; Macedonia drawing attention with good news.

Leading a positive and proactive policy is also a cornerstone in the relations with all of our neighbours and the broader Region. It is time for us at the Balkans to unite around the things that connect us and to start "competing" in implementing better reforms and providing brighter future for our citizens. As a region we have a choice, to grow and develop together or to stay buried in the differences of the past. The answer of today's Macedonia is clear and unequivocal.

This year we have achieved notable success – a positive Report of the European Commission with a clear recommendation for membership in the Union. We are doing everything in our power to turn this recommendation into a political decision to start negotiations with the EU this summer.

Distinguished,

Our mission is specific. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reflects the Republic of Macedonia. The successful presentation of the image of the country to the world is an accomplishment of everyone employed at the Ministry. Therefore, I would like to express my great pleasure and gratefulness to each and every one of you, my dear colleagues. An organisation is only as strong as the people that work in it are strong and able.

On that note, while offering best wishes on our day – the Day of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I invite you all to raise your glasses.

Many happy returns!

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