Ladies and gentlemen,
• It is a great honor to address you today in New Delhi on the occasion of my official visit to India, the most populated country and the largest democracy in the World, an example for democratic progress and prosperity.
• I had a busy day today with numerous productive meetings, discussing core issues of common interest and of our bilateral relations. I am grateful and impressed by the hospitality extended to me by my counterpart – the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Subrahmanyan Jaishankar, and I am confident that together, using our different strengths but common interests, we can contribute to the ‘better being’ of our own peoples and the world we live in.
• Although geographically far apart, our two countries are closely bound by the legacy of one incredibly strong woman: Mother Teresa, an Albanian from North Macedonia, who pursued her noble mission here in India serving those in need with love and humility. She is a Nobel prize winner and a world symbol of mercy and humanity. Tomorrow I am heading to Calcutta to visit her Memorial house and resting place to pay tribute to her life and mission. I d like to use the occasion to expressly honour all the many strong, humane, caring women out there, in India, in North Macedonia, in the world. Women deserve our respect.
Respect we also award to the Roma population in North Macedonia. In the last census from 2021, around 60.000 citizens, or 2,5 % of the population, declared themselves as Roma. They are proud of their roots and origin from India. And my country is proud to be the first in the world with an entirely Roma municipality, with a Roma mayor and with children attending school in the Roma language.
• l wish there were only good news to tell. Alas, my visit to India comes at a challenging moment for our global security architectures. And both our two countries have a significant role to play here, leading two important international platforms: North Macedonia is chairing the OSCE and India is presiding the G 20. I truly believe that we must give our all to ensure the functioning and positive contribution of these platforms for the well being of the people, and for a bit more security in a very insecure world.
• The OSCE is the world largest regional security organisation. North Macedonia assumed the Chairpersonship in 2023, in the moment of the probably most severe European security and geopolitical crisis since WW2. The war of aggression of Russia against Ukraine is breaching all international principles and commitments, wether enshrined in OSCE documents or the United Nations. And the price is being paid by people. People in Ukraine dying, maimed, losing loved ones, made homeless, forced out of their country, living as refugees adding to the already highest number of displaced persons ever, with all the social and economic spill over effects that come with it. And the motto of my chairmanship is ‘its about people’
• the war in Ukraine doesnt concern the people of Ukraine alone. It should be and is of concern to all of us. It threatens world peace. Which is why I am not tiring to seek to mend this conflict. Only yesterday l held a phone conversation with Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergej Lavrov. I am not saying it was an easy conversation. I am not saying we resolved all or any issues. But dialogue between the ‘unlikeminded’ lies at the heart of what OSCE stands and exists for.
I closely followed the recent BRICS summit in South Africa, and I am of course aware of the leading role India plays within the BRICS. And I am asking you to use your own means and instruments to assist in ending this war, and in bringing Russia back into the family of law and rules abiding nations. We cant go back to trying to snatch territory from other countries if and as we please. I know that India upholds the principles of territorial sovereignty and inviolability as do we. I count on your support to help end this war and threat to our global security. Our people. The futures of our youths.
The OSCE pays great attention to youth and their future. From climate crisis and food security, certainly core issues of interest here in India, we define security in a comprehensive way. Comprehensive and multilateral.
• As staunch supporter and promotor of effective multilateralism, North Macedonia is firmly attached to the values and principles enshrined in the UN Charter. We care about the security of all, not ending at the borders of Europe. In actual geo-political momentum, the role and the relevance of the UN remains of primordial importance. Maintaining something sometimes includes the need to changes something. This might include a number of reforms in the UN system. I am offering India our partnership to think through and promote joint reform proposals. Although l am aware that the current situation is not exactly conducive to any substantial move forward, we should remain engaged in exploring all possibilities to further reinforce the UN and make it more apt to address the global problems, starting from peace and security, to climate changes, SDG’s and human rights.
• while India is an enormously large country, North Macedonia is small, and need alliances, including in the defense field. This March, North Macedonia marked its third anniversary as a NATO member state. During this period, we proved to be a credible and reliable ally, dedicated to promoting regional stability and maintaining our collective peace and security. It deserves underlining that NATO is a defence pact and has never and will never use aggression against anyone.
• The NATO Summit in Vilnius (11-12 July), was held at a critical moment for transatlantic security. NATO leaders took major decisions to adapt the Alliance for the future (Allies agreed NATO’s most detailed and robust defense plans since the Cold War, strengthened their commitment to defense investment, agreed to bring Ukraine closer to NATO, and deepened partnerships around the world).
• When faced with the Russia’s illegal war aggression against Ukraine, NATO responded with unity and determination – providing unprecedented support to Ukraine, and strengthening its own deterrence and defense. This also includes the new geography of the Alliance, with Finland's accession doubling NATO's land border with Russia, and soon, with Sweden joining as well.
North Macedonia is grateful that it can count on allied support should its territorial integrity and sovereignty ever be threatened. As a country situated in the Western Balkans, we had our share of blood and tears, fought hard to preserve or regain stability and peace. A peace that we all know is always fragile and can never be taken for granted, anywhere. Peace between people requires hard, daily, active work.
• North Macedonia is focused on preserving the peace and stability in the Western Balkans. This was and remains one of the country’s top foreign policy priorities.
• my country, and I myself, are hence playing an active role for example in the process of normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. A pivotal meeting between the two sides was held on our territory, in Ohrid, on 18 March of this year and a Comprehensive Agreement was reached. As our own Ohrid Peace agreement from 2001 has shown and continues to show, the bulk of work now lies in its implementation. Finding agreements is hard. Sticking to them and bringing them to life to the benefit of the people is harder and requires more work still.
North Macedonia will continue to engage in the elaboration and the implementation of peace initiatives. In fact, within the framework of my OSCE chairmanship, I will be launching a Center for Peace and Mediation in Ohrid. And one of the initiatives under that Center shall be dedicated and carry the name of Mother Teresa. Which squares the circle back to the earlier part of my speech. I count on you to be part of that initiative, and the woman we are jointly proud of.
• Let me conclude my statement with expressing sincere gratitude to Ambassador Vijay Thakur Singh, Director General of the Indian Council of World Affairs for hosting me today and for your presence in such great number. I am open for questions and comments.