Washington, D.C., October 27, 2005 -The Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Vlado Buckovski, told reporters at a press conference today at the Voice of America (VOA) that he is "expecting hard negotiations", but that he is "optimistic about the possible compromise between Belgrade and Pristina to find a solution about the final status of Kosovo."
Buckovski also said that Macedonia plays a small but constructive role in the overall process given its positive experience in the implementation of the Ohrid framework. The Ohrid agreement ended the civil war in Macedonia in 2001.
Prime Minister Buckovski was in Washington this week for a series of meetings with top U.S. officials regarding Macedonia's aspirations to become a NATO and European Union member. He met with President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, and a number of U.S. Senators. He also opened the new Macedonian embassy in Washington.
During his visit to VOA, the prime minister answered questions along with several other officials from Macedonia, including Foreign Affairs Minister Ilinka Mitreva, Minister of Economy Fatmir Besimi, and Ambassador to the U.S. Nikola Dimitrov, who is also the Macedonian representative in the ongoing negotiations with Greece over the country's name.
The event was broadcast live over satellite to VOA TV affiliates throughout Macedonia. VOA's Macedonian Service, which was established in 1999, broadcasts TV and radio programs Monday through Friday.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government. VOA broadcasts 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of 100 million people. Programs are produced in English and 44 other languages, including Macedonian.
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