20th Anniversary of Signing of OFA Observed

The Government and the Ministry of Political System and Inter-Community Relations organised on Friday a major event in Skopje for celebration of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA), which back in 2001 ended the armed conflict between state security forces and the forces of the National Liberation Army (NLA). In his address at the celebration, PM Zoran Zaev said that OFA brought a new spirit of creation and implementation of policies in the country which build bridges between the communities. “OFA sent a message that there is a way for mutual understanding between Macedonians, Albanians and all other communities living in our society. As a country, we took all measures to build an integrated society, which is based on rule of law, respect of differences, protection of human rights, and we developed in a community, a country that is today fully integrated in NATO and is about to start accession talks with the EU,” Zaev said. DUI leader Ali Ahmeti said that thanks to OFA the authorities avoided, as he said, the tragic possibility for division of the state. “20 years ago, the division of the state was a possible option, but thanks to the great support we received from our friends and supporters from NATO, Washington and Brussels, we managed to find another way to settle our differences. OFA is a mutual success of all citizens of this country. Albanians we long marginalised and excluded from society, but today it is different. Prejudice still exists, but I believe we can overcome it very soon,” Ahmeti said, accenting the importance of the full implementation of OFA and the Agreements with Greece and Bulgaria for the stability and prosperity of the country. According to President Stevo Pendarovski, OFA managed to pass the test of time, and added that due to the great pressure the creators and signatories of the Agreement were not able to focus more on the rights and status of other communities, hence the impression that OFA is a binational agreement, but it still managed throughout the years to increase the degree of cohesion between the communities. Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi said that thanks to OFA the country can speak about a successful story from its history, and that it helped establish institutions like the Tetovo State University and the Mother Teresa University, the Institute for Cultural and Spiritual heritage of Albanians and many more. First Deputy PM and Minister of Political System and Inter-Community Relations Artan Grubi said in his address that if it was not for OFA, the Good-Neighbourliness Agreement with Bulgaria and the Prespa Agreement with Greece would have never happened in the first place. “Thanks to OFA, a lot has been achieved, but we must not stop here. We need to work more, for the generations to come, for we all experience benefits from OFA,” Grubi said, thanking all who contributed to the creation and implementation of OFA throughout the years.