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Greek American Organizations’ Policy Statement on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
May 16, 2005—No.44 (202) 785-8430

Greek American Organizations’ Policy Statement on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

WASHINGTON, DC—American Hellenic Institute president Gene Rossides announced today that the major Greek American membership organizations endorsed the policy statement on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia prepared by the American Hellenic Institute. These are: the Order of AHEPA, the Hellenic American National Council, the Cyprus Federation of America, the Panepirotic Federation of America, the Pan-Macedonian Association of America, the Evrytanian Association of America and the American Hellenic Institute. The endorsed statement, which is part of the 2005 Greek American Policy Statements, follows:

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

We call on the U.S., in its own self-interest, to strongly support a name for this former Yugoslav republic that does not include the word "Macedonia." Since antiquity, the name Macedonia has referred to a geographical region, not to a nationality.

When Marshal Tito fashioned the puppet "Socialist Republic of Macedonia" from the southern Yugoslav province of Vardar-Banovina in December 1944, he did so to foment disorder in northern Greece in furtherance of his plan to communize the Balkan Peninsula and gain control of the key port city of Salonica. "Macedonian" nationalism was a product of Tito's fabrications. In December 1944 the U.S. vigorously opposed the use of the name Macedonia by Tito. Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., in a Circular Airgram (Dec. 26, 1944) stated:

"This Government considers talk of Macedonian ‘nation,’ Macedonian ‘Fatherland,’ or Macedonian ‘national consciousness’ to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece.

The approved policy of this Government is to oppose any revival of the Macedonian issue as related to Greece."

Our policy was valid then and it should be valid now.

The Truman Doctrine and massive financial aid under the Marshall Plan foiled Tito’s hopes for communizing Greece.

The State Department’s reversal of policy on November 4, 2004 by the recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as the "Republic of Macedonia" was an act of disgraceful proportions as it relates to our staunch ally and supporter in the Balkans, Greece. This act is harmful to U.S. interests in the Balkans.

We call on President Bush to reconsider this misinformed and ill-advised policy and to tell the State Department to withdraw recognition of FYROM as Macedonia as in the best interests of the United States.

We call on President Bush to inform FYROM to continue in good faith its diplomatic dialogue with Greece on the name issue under UN auspices.

The State Department stated that this decision was made with the purpose of providing "stability" in "Macedonia," regarding the November 7, 2004 referendum in FYROM on the law giving the ethnic Albanian minority greater local autonomy. We disagree strongly with State’s position. On the contrary, recognition does not help to facilitate stability in the region.

Consideration needed to be given to the sensitivities by this decision and how it would potentially impact all of FYROM’s neighbors, especially Greece.

Yet, State Department Spokesman, Richard Boucher, during his press briefing on November 5, 2004 stated that he wasn’t aware of any consultations by the U.S. with FYROM’s neighbors prior to recognition.

If the United States is interested in promoting peace, democracy, stability and economic progress in the Balkans, our main ally in the region in promoting these goals is and has been Greece.

In announcing the recognition of FYROM as Macedonia, the State Department is thumbing its nose at Greece and the Greek American community. By it’s actions, the Administration is in effect disregarding the approximately 1,500,000 Americans of Hellenic descent as a non-entity in the formulation of U.S. policy since we are not consulted on decisions that impact Greece.

This action sends the wrong message to Greece that could be construed as dismissive of her sensitivities and concerns in the region.

Further, regarding Mr. Boucher’s comments, he attempts to justify that since the name "Macedonia" is the name "that the government and the people of Macedonia have chosen for their country, and that’s the name we will recognize them under."

This premise is false. There is no unqualified universally accepted rule of international law that authorizes a state to name itself anything it wants. The Macedonia issue stems from the 1991 secessionist Skopje regime’s naming itself in the most provocative way possible as the so called "Republic of Macedonia" and requesting worldwide recognition.

It is not proper for a country, which is part of a region to define itself in an official manner as representing the whole region. Macedonia, like the Americas, Europe, Scandinavia, and the Balkans, is a region. Just as no country in North and South America would call itself the "American Republic," and no European country would call itself the "Republic of Europe," FYROM in naming itself cannot assume the mantle of Macedonia.

Greece and FYROM had increased their dialogue recently on strengthening bilateral relations, including the name, and this unexpected and sharp shift in U.S. policy is counter-productive. For our Government to be a party to this only serves to create instability in a volatile area of the Balkans and thus threatens our interests there.

We find incomprehensible the advice from the State Department and the National Security Council to President Bush, which, in effect, equates the FYROM, a nation of only 13 years, of little, if any, strategic, economic or political value to the United States, with Greece, a long-time important strategic, political and economic ally of the United States, who fought as allies with the U.S. in 4 wars in the 20th century, whose defeat of Mussolini’s forces in 1940 was a turning point in World War II, who gave the communists their first defeat by arms (1946-49), who is an important partner in the war on terrorism, and who is the strategic key for the United States in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.

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For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at pr@ahiworld.org. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.