Tuesday, 5 September, 2017 година
ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT XHAFERI AT THE INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE
Ladies and gentleman,
Distinguished present of the academic sphere from the of Ss. Cyril and Methodius University,
It truly represents a pleasure to attend today the opening of this International scientific conference with topic "The Balkans between east and west: Old and/or new security challenges", organized by the Institute for security, defense and peace of the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje and the Faculty of security studies of the University of Belgrade. The fact that this conference is organized jointly, clearly shows that science and the scientific thought know no boundaries, while the other, even more important dimension is the fact that today, at the globalization processes, peace and security are indivisible categories and they concern all of us who live in this region, but Europe also as a continent. And, my pleasure from my presence here today, among you is caused also due to the fact that I have been a professional member of the defense forces and while holding the post of the Minister of defense of the Republic of Macedonia, I had the opportunity and the pleasure to cooperate with your Institute and with the vast of professors from the Institute, precisely on this issues.
At the beginning, allow me to emphasize that the Republic of Macedonia since the independence, has determined the fully integration in the European Union and in NATO as a strategic goal of its own. As for the integration in the European Union, all the states in the region opted for fully integration, while when it comes to NATO, some states are already fully-fledged members (Albania and Montenegro), while Macedonia, due to the name dispute, is waiting to access since the Bucharest Summit. Our northern neighbor, the Republic of Serbia, as a sovereign state has opted to stay outside NATO. I don't want to be misunderstood, that commitment should be respected by everyone, and at the same time, I want to underline that when it comes to security in the region, the Republic of Serbia has a significant role, accordingly, responsibility too.
When we speak about peace and security in the region, we are all aware that there are a lot of factors and stakeholders that determine the security of each country individually and of the region as a whole. Thereby, I start from the democracy level, rule of law and judiciary state in each country individually, to the new constellation of the international relations. When speaking about these "internal" factors which determine the security, it is my opinion that we are still legging behind when it comes to the democratic processes understood in their broadest sense, as well as in the functioning of the judiciary state. Still, although maybe not with the dynamics that our citizens are expecting from us, and so is the international community, we are moving forward. You all know that the last two years Macedonia was facing a political crisis grounded precisely on not having respect for these standards. However, with the help of our international friends, we first managed to define and locate the problems, but also to adopt a plan and program to overcome them. I sincerely believe that the actual parliamentary majority is seriously engaged in the direction of overcoming the crisis, respectively, I would say opening of a new chapter in the political life in the Republic of Macedonia.
Between these two, let me address them in a laic way border factors, we have a whole range of stakeholders, if you prefer even threats to peace and security in the region and the countries in it. I will only underline some of which we have faced as a state but also the whole region in the last two years. I refer to the refugee crisis, respectively the Balkans route through which hundreds of thousands refugees, above all from the states where war was raging. The Republic of Macedonia and this is stressed by all the international organizations, responded very successfully to the migrant crisis in all aspects, with a high level of respecting the international regulations and respecting of the United Nations standards, when it comes to migration and refugees. For the region, nothing less is the threat from international terrorism which most often comes from the so called Islamic state. I mention this for the reason that successful handling of these challenges is possible only through full cooperation of all the states in the region. Having in mind everything the states in the region of the Western Balkans have been through in the last decade of the last century and the beginning of this century, as well as the old, historic antagonisms, I think that we are all aware that only through bilateral and multilateral cooperation we can overcome the mutual misunderstandings and at the same time to respond to all the challenges that can endanger the peace and stability, both of the state and of the region and beyond. What I want to emphasize at the very end is that that dialogue and that cooperation is something we do know how to realize without help or mediation from outside. Such positive example is the overcoming of the last diplomatic precedent between Skopje and Belgrade that we resolved fast and through dialog, without disrupting the overall highly developed mutual relations. Still, I think that at this conference, about the cooperation in the region will speak truly competent experts.
Once again at the end, I would like to thank you for the invitation and to wish you a successful work, with hope that the politicians from the region will know how to use and apply your conclusions, recommendations, justified criticism while they make the political decisions concerning the stability and peace in the region and realization of the strategic determinations.