IA-Forum speaks with Ms. Dosta Dimovska the former Interior Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, co-founder of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE), and the current president of the Democratic Republican Union of Macedonia (DRUM).
By Violeta Dzoleva and Jasen Zubcevik
International Affairs Forum: Ms. Dimovska, in 1990 you co-founded the largest Macedonian national party (VMRO-DPMNE) and since then you have became one of the major figures in the Macedonian political scene. How did you decide to co-found this party and get involved in politics?
Dimovska: I was very excited about my participation in the creation of the first Macedonian national party. I met with Ljubco Georgievski on several occasions and we discussed the possible formation of a national party that would contribute to the creation of an independent Macedonian state. In January 1990, we founded VMRO-DPMNE. I was second in rank. Shortly thereafter, Georgievski asked me if I would be interested in becoming a member of the Macedonian parliament. I accepted his proposal with pleasure. I spent the next twelve years creating and executing the party’s objectives while at the same time promoting and protecting Macedonian national interests.
IA-Forum: During the 2001 ethnic conflict in Macedonia, you served as the Macedonian Interior Minister. How difficult was this time for you?
Dimovska: This period was the toughest time in modern Macedonian history. Terrorist groups from Kosovo entered Macedonia and started occupying towns and villages. They were occupying sovereign Macedonian territory and urging the local ethnic Albanian population to join the terrorist activities. At the same time, they argued that their goal was not to occupy the Macedonian territory but to achieve more rights for ethnic Albanians in Macedonia. The conflict resulted in casualties on both sides. The infrastructure of many towns and villages was damaged and thousands of people were forced to leave their homes. The crisis created tens of thousands of refugees. For me and for former President Boris Trajkovski, this was a very tough period. We had meetings day and night. Our goal was to end the conflict and protect human rights. The international community contributed greatly to the negotiations by meditating talks between the two sides. It was very difficult to negotiate since the armed conflict was already in progress and we had daily casualties.
IA-Forum: In January 2002, you resigned from all party and state positions you held. Shortly after that, VMRO-DPMNE disintegrated. How do you view the current political situation in Macedonia?
Dimovska: Now, the Macedonian political scene is dominated by only one political party – the Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDSM). This political party is controlling all government institutions. SDSM works closely with the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) – an ethnic Albanian party which was founded by ethnic Albanians who were involved in organizing the 2001 ethnic conflict. The political opposition is unfortunately very weak and disorganized.
In my opinion, the biggest political mistake is the territorial organization law created and implemented by the current government. Cooperation between the government and the opposition is very important when it comes to making substantial changes in state law. The current government, however, has refused to cooperate with the opposition. They want to impose their will on everybody. Many people in Macedonia have been outraged by the government’s decision to ignore the opposition.
IA-Forum: How do you view the current economic situation in the country?
Macedonia is experiencing a big economic crisis. Macedonia needs new ideas that will help the country overcome the current economic problems. The current government of Macedonia is not creating any opportunities for foreign and domestic investors.
The government is fighting corruption by investigating and indicting former government officials, but they are not investigating corruption among their own party members in the current government.
I personally work on uniting the opposition. I want to create a strong and united opposition that will be able to replace the current government in the next elections. This government does not enjoy a strong support among the Macedonian citizens because it has failed to improve the economy.
IA-Forum: Recently you founded a new opposition party…
Dimovska: Yes, the Democratic Republican Union of Macedonia (DRUM) is a right to the center political party. Its mission and values are based on the principles of the European, American, and Macedonian Republicanism. Macedonian republicanism is deeply rooted in Macedonian history.
IA-Forum: You were a very close friend of the former Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski who tragically lost his life in 2004. Could you tell our readers more about your friendship with President Trajkovski?
Dimovska; I met Boris Trajkovski in 1992 during one of the VMRO-DPMNE political gatherings. He was not a member of our party back then, but actively participated by asking questions and suggested a number of improvements in our party’s political platform. Some of my party colleagues were not happy with his critique but I was very pleased because he gave us some great suggestions. At the end of the discussion, I had the chance to meet him personally. The first meeting went well and we agreed to meet for the second time. After our second meeting, he decided to become a member of our party. He became actively involved in promoting our mission. I supported him because I knew that he was an honest and educated individual. He became one of our most active members. He greatly contributed, especially in improving our party’s international relations.
In 1999, Boris Trajkovski was appointed as the government coordinator for the Kosovo refugee crisis. The refugee crisis was caused by the large number of Kosovar refugees (over 360,000 refugees) crossing the Kosovo-Macedonia border. This situation threatened to destabilize our country. Trajkovski successfully managed the crisis and prevented a potential humanitarian catastrophe. As a result, he gained respect both domestically and internationally.
In 1999, I supported Trajkovski’s nomination as the VMRO-DPMNE candidate for President of the Republic of Macedonia. I believed that he should be our nominee because I knew that he was an honest and capable individual, with strong values and principles. He also had excellent relations with the Republican Party in the US and the Methodist church. I believed that his international networking skills could help Macedonia in improving its international relations. In November 1999, Trajkovski was elected as the President of Macedonia. He proved to be a very skilled leader.
IA-Forum: In November 2004, the United States recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name. What was your reaction on this?
Dimovska: It is a great success for Macedonia. Former President Trajkovski worked on this goal for a long period of time. He was a good friend of President George W. Bush. From Trajkovski, President Bush learned the truth about Macedonia. President Bush learned that the name dispute between Greece and Macedonia is artificially created and absurd. I am sure that the Macedonian lobby in the U.S. (Macedonian Patriot Organization (MPO) and a number of individuals) also greatly contributed to the name recognition.
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