Macedonia "protects dignity and integrity," cancels summit

SKOPJE -- The summit of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) which was set to take place this weekend in Ohrid has been canceled.
A view of Lake Ohrid (Jovica Damnjanović, file)
A view of Lake Ohrid (Jovica Damnjanović, file)
Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said he canceled the event to protect the state interest and dignity of Macedonia, noting that his country does not want to take part in a game of vetoes, let alone a boycott.
Three countries - Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Romania - objected to an invitation for Kosovo, which they do not recognize, while the presidents of Albania and Croatia announced they would not take part since Kosovo is not invited. 

Macedonia has acted fully in line with the SEECP regulations. Unfortunately, old Balkan prejudices and complexes have surfaced in the run-up to the summit and I will not let Macedonia pay the price, said Ivanov, the organizer of the event. 

He says challenges are overcome through dialogue. 

"We have been preparing for this summit all year and we have done everything to bring all leaders from the region to the same table," he said. 

Ivanov wished the next summit organizer success and expressed hope it will take place in "a more European Balkans." 

This is a clear signal to Europe, which reflects the reality in our region and it should serve as a warning, said Ivanov, noting that "state integrity and dignity are most important." 

Before the summit was canceled, a spokesman for EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule denied reports of Albanian language media in Priština that Fule had decided not to attend.