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AHI Disappointed with Pro-FYROM Congressional Action on NATO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Georgea Polizos
February 12, 2014—No. 8 (202) 785-8430

AHI Disappointed with Pro-FYROM Congressional Action on NATO 

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) has issued the following statement in response to congressional action to support membership for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s (FYROM) in NATO at the 2014 NATO Summit, which is hosted by the United Kingdom.

“The American Hellenic Institute is profoundly disappointed with a congressional letter to Secretary of State John Kerry signed by 40 U.S. representatives that backs FYROM’s membership in NATO. In particular, we are disappointed that the letter has the support of U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, who is the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and U.S. Representative William Keating, ranking member, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats; and U.S. Representatives Albio Sires and Grace Meng, members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. All four legislators are members of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues and have been big supporters on issues of concern to the Greek American community in the past.

“Under the administration of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, FYROM follows a long-term policy of extreme nationalism and provocation against Greece in conflict with NATO and European values of good neighborly relations.

“The letter claims that ‘failure for NATO to recognize and reward the aspirant countries, such as FYROM, for their ‘significant efforts’ to strengthen democratic values and increase stability in the region will weaken their commitment to partnering with Euro-Atlantic institutions.’ However, it is puzzling that the legislators do not take into consideration the detrimental message NATO would send to members of the Alliance, such as Greece, which has been a faithful, loyal and stalwart partner of the Alliance since its inception, if NATO were to accept FYROM into the Alliance despite FYROM’s inability to exhibit good neighborly relations as evident from its provocations toward Greece.

“Therefore, we remind the representatives who signed the letter that at the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago, a declaration issued by the Heads of the Governments participating stated, ‘We reiterate the agreement at our 2008 Bucharest Summit, as we did at subsequent Summits, to extend an invitation to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to join the Alliance as soon as a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue has been reached within the framework of the UN, and strongly urge intensified efforts towards that end.’

“We further remind policymakers that as a senator, Barack Obama was an original sponsor of S.Res.300, expressing the sense of the Senate that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)  should stop the utilization of materials that violate provisions of the United Nations-brokered Interim Agreement between FYROM and Greece regarding `hostile activities or propaganda' and should work with the United Nations and Greece to achieve longstanding United States and United Nations policy goals of finding a mutually acceptable official name for FYROM.

“We call for the signatories to reconsider their action and withdraw their support for the letter.  We also call on the community to contact legislators, urging them to withdraw their support for the letter, and to instead, focus their efforts to urge FYROM to work with Greece to find a mutually acceptable official name under U.N. auspices as in the best interests of the United States,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said.

 

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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For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos 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.