Macedonia strives for NATO and EU membership: president

11:27, January 01, 2011      

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Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said Friday that his country is still working toward the goal of achieving accession into NATO and the European Union.

Speaking in his New Year's greetings to Macedonian citizens, Ivanov said the Macedonians had strived for centuries for freedom, human dignity and good-neighborly relations and what remains is Macedonia's accession into NATO and the EU.

"I am convinced we will achieve this objective. However, its achievement requires greater unity, self-confidence and self- respect," news reaching here from Skopje quoted Ivanov as saying.

"The New Year will be a moment of optimism, new energy and new strength. A moment of solidarity and unity," the president said.

Ivanov called for peaceful coexistence between the country's ethnic and religious communities. Ethnic Albanians account for one quarter of the country's 2.1 million population.

"Respect for diversity and tolerance among citizens of diverse ethnic and religious communities are the country's biggest treasure," Ivanov said.

He said that the incoming new year will have many challenges ahead and serious efforts will be needed to overcome them.

"The great challenges will bring out the best of us," Ivanov said.

Source: Xinhua
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