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France and Macedonia

Political relations

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) declared independence after holding a referendum on 8 September 1991 in the wake of the break-up of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Because of a dispute over the constitutional name of the new country, official recognition was not granted immediately: the country was admitted to membership of the United Nations (under resolution 817/93) in April 1993, under the provisional reference of "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".

France opened a "general delegation" in Skopje in March 1993 and officially recognised FYROM on 27 December 1993. An ambassador was appointed on 31 March 1994.

France has given FYROM its constant support since the declaration of independence and played a significant role at the time of the 2001 crisis. France was also closely involved in the negotiations leading to the Ohrid framework agreement that put an end to the armed conflict, providing two EU Special Representatives, François Léotard followed by Alain Le Roy. The reform of the country’s constitution was presided over by Robert Badinter.

France also confirmed its commitment to FYROM by acting as the initial ’framework’ nation on the Concordia military mission, contributing over 40% of the mission personnel and commanding the mission for six months, and then as the largest single contributor to the Proxima police operation that succeeded Concordia.

Bilateral relations between the two countries are good and regularly maintained.

In February 2008, French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner welcomed his counterpart, Antonio Milosovski, to Paris. IvicaBocevski, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, visited Paris in November 2008 and was welcomed by Jean-Pierre Jouyet, and again in February 2009, when he met Bruno Le Maire.

The President of the Republic welcomed the Prime Minister of FYROM, Nikola Gruevski, on a visit on 13 May 2009. In November 2009, FYROM Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs VaskoNaumovski visited Paris for meetings with Pierre Lellouche.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Poposki hosted a meeting with Jean Leonetti, Minister responsible for European Affairs, in Vilnius on 6 December 2001 on the margins of the OSCE Ministerial Council. He also had a meeting in Paris on 27 February 2012 with Jean-David Levitte, diplomatic adviser to the President of the Republic.

Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister Delegate for European Affairs, held a meeting in Paris on 30 November 2012 with Teuta Arifi, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs; her successor, Fatmir Besimi, visited France on 5 June.

On 25 July 2013, on the margins of the Summit of the Heads of State or Government of the Western Balkans held in Brdo, Slovenia, at which France was the guest of honour, French President François Hollande held a meeting with Gjorge Ivanov, President of the Republic of Macedonia.

Ali Ahmeti, President of the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI), the ethnic Albanian party that forms part of the governing coalition in Skopje, visited the Quai d’Orsay and attended a meeting on 4 October with Fabien Penone, diplomatic adviser to the President of France.

The most recent French ministerial visit was that of Pierre Lellouche in July 2010, during which he met all the country’s main political leaders.

In 2011, a delegation of the Senate’s France-Western Balkans Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group visited Skopje from 20 to 22 April.

Jean-David Ciot, Deputy for the 14th constituency of the Bouches-du-Rhône and a member of the French National Assembly’s Committee on National Defence and Armed Forces, paid a visit to Skopje and Bitola between 7 and 10 November 2013.

The French Embassy in Skopje website: http://www.ambafrance-mk.org/france_macedoine/

Updated on 15.11.13

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