Remarks to the Press With Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski

Press Availability
Victoria Nuland
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Skopje, Macedonia
July 13, 2015

Assistant Secretary Nuland: Thank you very much Prime Minister for this warm welcome back to Macedonia, and thanks to all of the party leaders who I had a chance to see today. As we always do, we had a chance to talk to everybody. As the Prime Minister made reference, the United States has been a friend and partner of Macedonia for 20 years now, and for 20 years we have strongly supported and encouraged, no matter who was in power here, a unified, strong, democratic, clean, increasingly integrated in the Euro-Atlantic system Macedonia. That is still our strategic goal for your country; it’s still what makes us strong partners. We are united in that goal not only with leaders here, but with the people of Macedonia.

But as the Prime Minister has said, the political crisis has made it very difficult for leaders here to focus on those goals, so we have to get past it. Now is the time to bring this crisis to an end. We the United States are very pleased to be working with the European Union. Ambassador Baily is working in lockstep with EU Commissioner Hahn to try to bring the parties together around a package of understandings that will allow Macedonia to get back on its chosen path of Euro-Atlantic integration, of growth, of good clean government, rule of law, free media, all those things that are important for the state. We strongly support the package of agreements that were completed, that were begun on June 2nd. There are only a few issues left to finish. Commissioner Hahn will be here tomorrow. We will strongly support those talks tomorrow.

I spent my day talking to all of the key stakeholders, including the Prime Minister, about how to narrow the gaps so that this agreement can be reached, so that the country can move on with the undertakings that are made there for working on the media environment, working on the judicial environment, addressing the concerns, addressing the electoral environment, and moving on to the fall, to the spring. That will allow us to get back to the business that we have also worked on for many years, and that the Prime Minister and I have worked on together for many years, which is supporting Macedonia’s aspiration to join the NATO alliance. That, as you know, is going to require complex negotiations with the new government in Greece on the name issue under the auspices of UN negotiator Nimetz. We are prepared to continue our strong advocacy for a good resolution there as soon as you all reach agreement to move this country forward and settle the political crisis.

I believe based on the consultations that I have had here today with all of the leaders, including Mr. Zaev and the Prime Minister, that the political will does exist in Macedonia to solve this problem. But, we would like to say: the faster you do it, the faster we can move back to doing the people’s business, getting back to growth, getting back to investments, getting back to the things that will make a strong, unified Macedonia for all the people of this country. That’s what the United States wishes for you. Thank you Prime Minister.