FM Milososki: "Macedonia ready to confront Greece before ICJ"
18. March 2011. | 14:34
Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Milososki said that in its application, Macedonia requests ICJ to determine that Greece at the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008 breached Article 11 from the Interim Accord, i.e. it objected the NATO membership invitation for Macedonia, even though it would be referred to by the interim reference. The Court is requested to bind Greece to immediately make all the necessary steps in order to respect its obligations under Article 11.
The Republic of Macedonia is well-prepared for a public hearing, which is to be held this Monday before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague in relation to a lawsuit against the Republic of Greece for breaching the Interim Accord signed by the countries in 1995.
Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Milososki at a press briefing on Thursday said that in its application, Macedonia requests ICJ to determine that Greece at the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008 breached Article 11 from the Interim Accord, i.e. it objected the NATO membership invitation for Macedonia, even though it would be referred to by the interim reference. The Court is requested to bind Greece to immediately make all the necessary steps in order to respect its obligations under Article 11.
The head of country's diplomacy, who will lead the Macedonian delegation to Monday's hearing, said the proceedings do not refer to the political name dispute between Macedonia and Greece and the Court will not settle the countries' differences involving the name. He noted that ICJ proceedings and negotiations aiming at overcoming the differences involving the name are two separate and different processes. "It is not expected the verdict to affect the negotiation stances of Macedonia regarding the name and the country with and without this lawsuit will continue with a political dialogue in order the name row to be closed, because the only way to settle the issue is through the UN-brokered talks."
"It is an international and legal dispute in which Greece is the focus of the lawsuit, not NATO and it refers to Greece's treatment prior to and during the Bucharest Summit," Milososki elaborated.
"We would respect the verdict, whatever it is going to be, but we would not prejudice before it is pronounced. The most important thing is to present Macedonia's arguments and facts before the Court, which are to lay grounds for a just decision to be reached," FM Milososki said.
He added that both parties in the dispute have agreed oral arguments to be presented at a hearing, which will be open for the public. Macedonia, Milososki said, has requested during the proceedings the Republic of Macedonia to be addressed by its temporary reference in full, instead by its acronym, which is in line with Resolution 817 of the UN Security Council.
The court deliberating the Macedonian lawsuit is comprised of 15 judges from all over the world, except from Macedonia and Greece. Both parties in the dispute have appointed one ad hoc judge each. Macedonia is going to be represented by a judge from Croatia, Budislav Vukas. "The choice was made taking into consideration his collaboration with the faculty of law in Skopje, excellent recommendations and solid reputation," stated Milososki.
Asked whether Greece will respect the ICJ decision, the minister said that the Court's verdicts were final and binding for UN members, i.e for parties involved in the dispute.
Macedonia as arguments amongst other things will present all statements and texts published in the press that are deemed useful and valuable.
ICJ will deliberate the appeal after the second stage of the process of oral arguments is completed, i.e. after March 30. The verdict is expected to be reached prior to or after the summer holidays, in the fall at the latest. During this period, the Court will monitor actions taken by both countries, which is why a briefing was held recently with representatives of all relevant Macedonian political parties, who have confirmed that their actions will be rational and sensible.
The public hearing in the Hague-based court will be held between March 21-30. According to a schedule posted on its website, the hearing will consist two rounds. In the first round, Macedonia will present its oral arguments on March 21 and 22, while Greece will present its counter-arguments on March 24-25. In the second round of oral arguments, on March 28 the team representing Macedonia will have the chance to respond orally to Greece's defence. The public hearing will end on March 30, when Greece is to present its closing arguments.
Macedonia filed its application before the International Court of Justice against Greece in November 2008, which was followed by two detailed written memorandums from 20 July 2009 and 9 June 2010.