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AHI Refutes Congressional Letter to President Obama on FYROM, NATO Membership
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Nick Larigakis
October 26, 2010—No. 66 (202) 785-8430

AHI Refutes Congressional Letter to President Obama on FYROM, NATO Membership

Six Signatories of Congressional Letter are Hellenic Caucus Members

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) sent a letter today to President Barack Obama expressing the Institute’s disagreement with an October 1, 2010 sent to the president by 19 members of Congress who claimed that NATO membership for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) should not be “negatively affected by bilateral issues with Greece,” in reference to the name dispute issue, as NATO prepares to meet for the Lisbon Summit in November.  Of the 19 congressional members who signed the letter, six are members of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues.

“The Members [of Congress] claim that FYROM has fulfilled all the criteria for membership,” wrote AHI President Aleco Haralambides and AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis.  “However, FYROM continues to be an intransigent party as it relates to its name dispute with Greece.  FYROM must realize that in order to join NATO, it must focus on the fulfillment of NATO’s good neighborly relations principle and the immediate settlement of the difference over the name.”

The AHI letter also commended the Obama administration for not supporting the legislators’ position, citing a recent statement by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip H. Gordon.

“Macedonia will join [NATO] once the dispute over its name is settled,” the AHI letter quotes Assistant Secretary Gordon from a speech given October 18, 2010, at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

Finally, AHI’s letter recounted Greece’s contributions to NATO, especially to Afghanistan, and President Obama’s previous positions on the FYROM name-dispute issue that included an original co-sponsorship of S.Res.300 in the 110th Congress.

To view AHI’s letter to President Obama, please click here (818KB PDF).

Members of Congress Who Signed Letter

The 19 members of Congress who signed the letter to President Obama are: U.S. Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), Candice Miller (R-MI), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Gary Peters (D-MI), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), David Price (D-NC), Connie Mack (R-FL), Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Harry Mitchell (D-AZ), Mike Turner (R-OH), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Steven LaTourette (R-OH), Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico), Bobby Rush (D-IL), and Daniel Maffei (D-NY).  U.S. Reps. Franks, Peters, Carnahan, Hastings, Pascrell, and Rush are members of the Hellenic Caucus.

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American think-tank and public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.

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