North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at Wednesday’s press conference assessed late Tuesday’s talks as conditions set by VMRO-DPMNE’s leader Hristijan Mickoski and illogical demands, against EU and NATO and against values and principle.
I’m disappointed with the outcome of the meeting. I had some hopes that it might be possible they are to change the matrix and abandon the efforts of their predecessors. We tried to meet their demands, but VMRO-DPMNE only insisted that the SPO cases come under their control, that all pre-investigations and investigations be halted, that we should hide the crime. We must not allow that, we must not cross that red line, Zaev said, adding that justice and the rule of law must and will exist, and there is no compromise on these issues.
According to Zaev, SPO cases will continue to be processed, but in court, out of any political influence. On the other hand, the solution to the prosecution law can only be sought in talks with the opposition.
“As long as there are chances, doors remain open for talks to resume. Any idea or thought can lead to a solution. Therefore, I would also like to appeal to the opposition to see how important it is to show that we can put the state’s interests above party interests prior to the decision on setting a date for EU accession talks. Clearly, leader of VMRO–DPMNE and VMRO–DPMNE as a party will be the blame for any outcome other than obtaining a date for EU accession talks. They have to accept this responsibility,” Zaev said.
The government, according to Zaev, suggested that the new prosecution should be equivalent with the prosecution for organised crime and corruption. It gave creative solutions and proposals, an opportunity for the opposition to feel embedded in the process and to believe in it. However, for VMRO-DPMNE it was only important to take over the cases from the SPO and the prosecution to be headed by the representative of the opposition. It is absolutely unacceptable, because there is no way to guarantee that the chief prosecutor at one point will not decide to annul, withdraw or delay all those cases.
“I regret that that Mickoski and VMRO-DPMNE live in captivity by their former leadership. That is my impression. They failed to see that now is the time to show that we are committed to justice and the rule of law. Completely contrary to the principle of justice, they require that all cases after June 30, 2017 be taken over by a prosecutor chosen by them. And to subsequently lead to destruction, stoppage, cancellation of the cases that are in pre-investigation and investigation stages. We suggested setting up a new prosecution office for high-level corruption headed by a public prosecutor nominated by the opposition, but they are not interested in fighting corruption, they are interested in rescuing former regime crime,” Zaev said.
We have also ensured that all cases to be taken over by the state prosecutor, Jovevski, regardless of the procedure. Clearly, justice to decide, not politicians.
Answering journalist questions about VMRO-DPMNE ‘s request to dismiss prosecutor Ruskovska, he explained that individuals should not be an obstacle to any systemic solution.
“Ruskovska leads important cases, but one can’t change the prosecutor if Zaev or Mickoski want this. The investigation should be conducted to the end. With the possible replacement of Ruskovska we will send a message that we are afraid of reaching us. It is not up to the politicians to say where “Racket” case leads or any other investigation, it is ours to provide an independent investigation, not to say whether “Racket” case leads to Zaev or Mickoski,” said PM Zaev.