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EIR HIGHLIGHT


INTERVIEW: EMILIJA GELEVA

Macedonia Official: NATO Is Sending
a Bad Signal to Terrorists Worldwide

Emilija Geleva is the Strategic Affairs adviser to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. She has held that office for the last three years, in the most tumultuous period of the ten-year-old republic, which included the NATO air bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Before accepting that very delicate institutional task, for 15 years Mrs. Geleva had been a very popular TV journalist in Macedonia. Mrs. Geleva occasionally still writes analyses for the main newspapers. In a recent article in Utrinski Vesnik, with the polemical title "Lobotomy," she dealt with the Balkan upheaval and the "Brzezinski group." Her husband, Zivko Pavlov, is one of the most followed satirical journalists in Macedonia, and his work has received high recognition abroad.

Mrs. Geleva recently visited the United States at the invitation of the Schiller Institute. She participated in the institute's Labor Day weekend conference, together with a large delegation of Macedonian Americans. She was interviewed by Umberto Pascali on Sept. 6.

This is the opening exchange of the interview. The full text is in EIR for Sept. 21, 2001.

EIR: The Macedonian Parliament has just approved, with 91 votes out of 112, the so-called Framework Agreement that calls for a change in the Macedonian Constitution. The agreement had been demanded by the so-called international community, and went through the Parliament despite the fact that a majority of the MPs had denounced it. The international mediators, from NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson on down, had stated that whoever voted against the agreement was asking for war.

Geleva: The meaning of the vote is that the Macedonian parliamentarians approved what had been signed earlier on by the leaders of the four political parties. For most of the parliamentarians, probably there was not much of a choice. Thus, despite the attitude that they expressed in their very heated discussions, where they disagreed with most of the content in the Framework Agreement, today they voted for it. I think it would help to understand what happened, if we look at the statement made in Parliament by Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski. You will find there the reason why he recommended voting in this way.

Allow me to quote from the Prime Minister's speech on Sept. 3. He stated: "I have never thought the Macedonian Constitution is the reason for the six-month crisis in the country. Therefore, I do not think that adding 35 amendments to the Constitution will bring peace in Macedonia.... First, we have violated one of the most significant standards of the international community, and given a great reward to all of the terrorists in the world. The lessons we have learned over the past decades, that terrorism may not be rewarded by meeting the terrorists' political goals, are not being applied to Macedonia. Unfortunately, we must confess that we accept giving terrorists such a reward. Second, we are meeting to change the Constitution, when part of Macedonia's territory is occupied. However, I call on the parliamentarians to vote for the changes for a very simple reason. It is said that the chorus of international and domestic experts will sing the same song, forgetting [the Kosovo Liberation Army, or KLA] are bloodthirsty people, and seeking the guilty party among the Macedonian people. You have witnessed NATO's credibility when it entered into Macedonia, despite the differences on whether it is necessary to spend 1 billion deutschemarks for this operation that will collect [KLA] weaponry, worth DM 2 million, and whether it requires 5,000 soldiers to collect 3,300 pieces of weaponry. It is obvious that we should not 'gamble' with NATO's authority, and if the alliance takes part in this game, we should accept it and express our trust.

"Those in Parliament who refuse to vote for the changes will be declared guilty of causing the war. I will rephrase the question: What if all amendments are adopted, and terrorism does not stop in Macedonia, as well as violent acts against our civilians? What if the displaced persons cannot return to their homes, even after a year? Along with everything, that would mean a continuation of the war for territory—the war began that way, and, unfortunately, will most probably end like that. Unfortunately, voting for this initiative we have to be aware that Macedonia is 'collateral damage' of [the NATO intervention in Kosovo] and we cannot expect those who made that mistake in 1999, to admit it today. Unfortunately, these are the conditions under which we must commence with this initiative."

So, actually, about 35 amendments are proposed for the Macedonian Constitution in the Framework Agreement, and the existing Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia will be essentially changed. The preamble of the Constitution will be cut out, and another Constitutional declaration will be approved later, in order to keep the continuity of the Macedonian people's state.