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The Washington Times Publishes AHI's Letter to the Editor on U.S. Policy toward FYROM, Greece

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Nick Larigakis
September 21, 2010—No. 58 (202) 785-8430

The Washington Times Publishes AHI's Letter to the Editor on U.S. Policy toward FYROM, Greece

WASHINGTON, DC—The Washington Times published a letter to editor on Friday, September 17, 2010 submitted by the American Hellenic Institute (AHI).  AHI’s letter to the editor “Gratitude due Greece, not just Macedonia,” written by Executive Director Nick Larigakis, rebutted Jason Miko’s September 7, 2010 commentary “A place at the table for Macedonia?

In his commentary, Miko claims FYROM is a loyal ally that has been disrespected by the United States.  In his letter to the editor, Larigakis argues that Miko misidentifies the loyal alley that has been disrespected by the United States.  “Mr. Miko’s attempt to demonstrate how the United States favors Greece over the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is flawed,” Larigakis wrote.

As an example, Larigakis cites the November 2004 decision by the United States to irresponsibly recognize FYROM as the “Republic of Macedonia” in total disregard of Greece, a longstanding NATO ally.

In addition, Larigakis refutes Miko’s argument that FYROM has contributed more to the war in Afghanistan than Greece. “He falsely asserts that Greece has 15 troops staged there. Today, Greece has 61 officers and 135 enlisted personnel in Afghanistan, where they operate the Engineer Battalion in Kabul and assist with reconstruction efforts,” Larigakis wrote.  He added that Afghanistan has also been a priority of Greek development policy because Greece has allocated approximately $100 million to Afghanistan.

“In the end, it is clear that Greece is the true ally that has been disrespected,’” he concluded.

Larigakis’ letter is found below for your review.

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit independent Greek American 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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For additional information, please contact Nick Larigakis at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.

 

Dear Editor:

Jason Miko’s commentary “A place at the table for Macedonia – Why the disrespect for a loyal ally?” (Sept. 7) misidentifies the loyal ally that has been disrespected by the United States.  Miko’s attempt to demonstrate how the U.S. favors Greece in comparison to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is flawed.

In November 2004, the U.S., in total disregard of Greece, a longstanding NATO ally, irresponsibly reversed 60-plus years of policy and recognized FYROM as the “Republic of Macedonia.”  This act by the U.S. has contributed greatly to FYROM’s intransigence in the quest to find a mutually-acceptable solution to its name dispute within a UN framework.  Furthermore, it has emboldened FYROM to condone hate propaganda and acts of provocation against Greece and its citizens causing poor neighborly relations.  Despite the U.S.’s counterproductive policy position, and FYROM’s provocations, Greece has compromised greatly by proposing “a compound name for the country; a name that will distinguish it from both the Greek and Bulgarian part” in the effort to stabilize the Balkans and promote Euro-Atlantic standards.  FYROM has not reciprocated.

Also, Miko’s argument fails when he stakes his claim based upon the contributions of FYROM and Greece in Afghanistan.  He falsely asserts Greece has 15 troops staged there.  Today, Greece has 61 officers and 135 enlisted personnel in Afghanistan where they operate the Engineer Battalion in Kabul and assist with reconstruction efforts.  Greece has also been responsible for Kabul International Airport.  The U.S.’s naval base at Souda Bay, Crete, and its adjacent air base, serves as a staging ground for the deployment of troops, cargo, and supplies to Afghanistan.

Finally, Afghanistan has been a priority for Greek development policy.  Since 2002, Greece has allocated approximately $100 million to Afghanistan. And in the big picture, Greece is a top financial contributor to NATO, spending an estimated 3% of its GDP on defense, which by percentage, is second only to the U.S.

In the end, it is clear that Greece is the true ally which has been disrespected when it comes to U.S. policy vis-à-vis FYROM and Greece.

Sincerely,

Nick Larigakis
Executive Director
American Hellenic Institute

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For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.