The Republic of Macedonia is a small country on the Balkan Peninsula, comprising 25,713 square kilometers and a population of two million. For 45 years it functioned as one of the six constituent republics of the Yugoslav Federation. It was declared an independent and sovereign state in 1991. The new Constitution established the Republic not only as independent and sovereign, but also as a civil and democratic nation-state. This guaranteed complete equality and coexistence of the Macedonian people with the Albanian, Turkish, Vlach, Romany and other minorities living in the country. It also initiated the process of recognition by other states throughout the world, as well as the establishment of diplomatic relations. Macedonia was accepted as a member of the United Nations in 1993 and is currently involved in a large number of European and International associations.