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Statement of Deputy FM Fatmire Isaki:
The relations and cooperation between the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Croatia are in a continuous upward trend and I can proudly say that our sincere and deep friendship that has been established through a series of personal and family contacts in the last three decades is continuously upgraded by deepening and strengthening of the mutual political dialogue, economic cooperation, cultural, trade, and tourist exchange and cooperation in many other fields.
An equally important link in our mutual relations are the members of our community in Croatia, and of the Croatian one in North Macedonia who, through a series of activities remain in constant contact with their home country, culture and language, and at the same time, provide special contribution to the quality of our excellent bilateral relations and cooperation.
In this sense, I would like to emphasise that the two countries, by signing the Agreement in 2007, built the foundations for quality exercising of the minority rights, but they also envisioned a mechanism to monitor this implementation, that is, the Intergovernmental Joint Commission. Today, I had the honourof meeting the co-chair on the Croatian part, MrZvonkoMilas, State Secretary at the Republic of Croatia Central State Office for Croats Abroad.
During our talk, we welcomed the fact that the two Governments have a very positive relation to minority issues that can be a very complex subject. Minorities share the same problems that affect all citizens of a country, but at the same time, they have additional challenges related to preserving their cultural and national identity, and foremost protection of their cultural heritage, education, and fostering of their mother tongue. It is a fact that citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia who live in Croatia are especially pleased with their exercised rights and we as their homeland are grateful for the support that the Republic of Croatia provides in this sense.
I am pleased with the fact that, during the last meeting of the Intergovernmental Joint Committee in Zagreb on 8 October 2019, a positive step forward was noted in the fulfilment of the obligations undertaken by the Macedonian side. I have to stress that this gave me a further encouragement and enthusiasm in the past period, since my appointment as co-chair of the Macedonian side of the Committee, to start detecting, creating and implementing activities that contribute to the development and improvement of cooperation in this field, aware of the importance of the preservation and promotion of the language and cultural diversity and tradition in the Republic of North Macedonia.
The frequent meetings of members of the Committee, like the one we had today, show that there is interest by our Governments to move the process forward. For that reason, I am looking forward to the upcoming fifth meeting in Skopje, for which I believe that we will respond to the set tasks and common aspirations in a constructive atmosphere.
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