“After the violent passage of the Law on the Use of Languages, the United Macedonian Diaspora announced that it has interrupted contacts with the Government. Has someone tried to contact you anyway, given the UMD’s participation in the drafting of the national diaspora strategy?
First, let me mention that UMD was founded in 2004 and is a non-partisan and non-governmental organization. We communicate with all the governments of the Republic of Macedonia, which does not mean that we have full cooperation, but we are obliged to represent the interests and needs of the Diaspora.’
After the very announcement for adoption in July last year, we announced that the Law on Languages was unconstitutional and harmed the unity and the sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia. We have a member in the working group for building a national strategy for the diaspora and we are interested in improving the relations between the diaspora and the homeland, but after we published that position, nobody contacted us from the Macedonian Government to find out more about our attitude and the reasons why we brought it.
How do you see the position of this government in relation to the name of the state?
UMD from the beginning of its existence has a position that the Government of the Republic of Macedonia to withdraw from the name negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations. We also informed the Government of Buckovski, then to Gruevski and now to Zaev. We have always had that attitude and nothing has changed since the arrival of this government.
In other words, in January, we became much more concerned about the situation with the name and on how the negotiations are going, especially since the mediator Matthew Nimetz has a conflict of interest. First, his secretary is a Greek origin. Second, while working as an administrator of General Atlantic, he invested 120 million euros in a company with a bank in Greece, Saxo Bank. Thirdly, he has donated $ 25,000 for his campaign to Congressman Caroline Maloney, who is the founder and chairman of the Friendship Group with Greece at the US Congress, and which on Sunday declared to the UN that Macedonia was, is and will always be Greek , and that they will submit such a resolution to Congress.
For these reasons, we started the Global Movement “We are Macedonia”, in coordination with several Macedonian organizations in Canada, Australia and Europe, and made almost 40 protests around the world. I can not say that UMD is credited for all this work, but definitely there is coordination thanks to the colleague Anna Dukoska from Washington. It is very good that all this movement is organized by the female sex and I believe that through it more activities will be organized against the change of the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia.
You gave an example showing that the Greek lobby has strong connections in the United States. How are we in that plan? Some congressmen and senators have already made statements in favor of Macedonia. What is the group?
Formation of the group for friendship with Macedonia is a result of the action of several Macedonians from the diaspora, established businessmen, like the late Mike Ilic of Michigan and his wife Merian. In 2011, the Group for Macedonia and the interests of the Macedonians-Americans were established in the Congress. She started with two, for today she has 35 congressmen, ten of whom are members of the last year. Unfortunately, in the Senate we lost two friends – one died, Voinovich, and Luger was not re-elected, so at the moment there is no one who has established himself as a friend of Macedonia in the Senate. But we are working on this, my colleagues in Washington have daily meetings to increase the number of friends.
The Albanians say, for example, they do not have such a large lobby as they had previously, the Congress now has about twenty friends and two in the Senate, the Serbs 25-30, the Montenegrins around 15, the Bulgarians the same, the Croats nearly 60. The Greeks have 135, but they formed the group for friendship back in 1994, and we in 2011. For seven years, 35 friends of Macedonia think that it is a good achievement. Congressmen are becoming friends, mostly because they have some kind of relationship with Macedonia – a parent or friendly, and a congressman at the age of 18 visited the Balkans and was in Macedonia, he really liked it and became a member of the group.” (translated from, and full article available at Express.mk)