Saturday, September 29, 2007

What’s in a Name? ( UN General Assembly president act as FYROM Minister* )

by Alexandros P. Mallias


When UN General Assembly president H.E. Dr. Srgjan Kerim, a native of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), introduced on September 25 the president of his home country, Mr. Branko Crvenkovski, he implied that the national interest of FYROM prevails over his duties to the UN body. He therefore addressed Mr. Crvenkovksi as the “President of the Republic of Macedonia.”

Some people may think that what happened in the UN constitutes a minor or isolated incident. Nevertheless, this is not the case—this has deeper roots both on a regional and international level. Challenging UN resolutions and decisions and ignoring commitments undertaken through international agreements, as FYROM has systematically done by violating the US-brokered Interim Accord with Greece, is a bad precedent. This is a violation of the principle of good-neighborly relations and puts sustained regional stability in jeopardy.

To make it clear, Dr. Kerim’s action is in full contravention of Security Council resolutions 817 (1993) and 843 (1993), as well as the recommendations contained therein regarding the provisional name under which this state was unanimously admitted to the United Nations (“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”).

Dr. Kerim, obviously acting under instructions from his government, has irreparably damaged his standing and credibility as president of the General Assembly. He did not respect the resolutions of the body over which he is presiding nor of the Security Council of the United Nations, the organization he has been called upon to serve.

Such a development also militates against the efforts made by the UN to facilitate the bilateral negotiations entered into by Greece and FYROM through the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Mr. Matthew Nimetz, to seek a mutually acceptable solution on the name issue. Following this action by Mr. Kerim, Mr. Nimetz said on September 26 that what happened in the General Assembly demonstrates why a permanent solution is needed. He is continuing his work with the parties on this issue. Furthermore, UN spokeswoman Ms. Marie Okabe stressed that within the United Nations, the Secretary-General and the Secretariat continue to use the name “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.”

The actions of Dr. Kerim and FYROM are a clear indication of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s lack of respect for international law and international institutions. They are also a blunt violation of the US-brokered Interim Accord

This development clearly shows that the President of the UN General Assembly has put his national interest over that of the United Nations.

Assurances by the authorities in Skopje concerning the use of the name “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” in international organizations are thus unreliable and untrustworthy. FYROM officials ignore their commitments. The responsibility for the consequences of this uncompromising position belongs exclusively and completely to the government in Skopje.

It should be noted that Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Mr. Nicholas Burns, following a meeting in New York with Greece’s Foreign Minister Ms. Dora Bakoyannis on September 24, 2007, stressed that “the time has come for progress on the FYROM name issue…this is our message to Skopje, and the spirit of our meeting today with the foreign minister…We wish to exercise our influence and urge Skopje, as we do with Athens, that the time has come for progress.” We fully concur with this statement.

Many Americans may think this is a minor issue. But the history of the region, not to mention of Europe as a whole, demonstrates that whenever irredentist claims are left unaddressed, the seeds of future conflicts are sown. Europe today is governed by the rule of law; the completion of the European project in the Balkans—and the extension of a zone of peace and prosperity—rest upon the willingness of governments to live up to their international commitments. Obligations are like a tapestry; even pulling on what might appear to outsiders to be a small and insignificant thread can end up unraveling the entire work. We have too much invested in the stability of the region to allow this to happen.

Alexandros P. Mallias is the ambassador of Greece to the United States. He was the first ambassador of Greece to FYROM immediately after the signing of the US-brokered Interim Accord in 1995. He has also served as Director of the Southeastern Europe (Balkan Affairs) Department at the Foreign Ministry in Athens, as Ambassador to Albania and Head of the European Community Monitor Mission Regional Office in Sofia.

The mentioned article was posted in National Interest
*Is not written in the initial post of the article

Thursday, September 20, 2007

American and European Hypocrisy

FYROM officials yesterday announced that Canada decide to recognized them with under constitunal name. Officials at the Canadian embassies in FYROM and Greece as the UK and US at the past were not immediately available for comment.

Why you hide Canadians?

The name is one of the most emotive foreign policy issues in Greece. Macedonia is also the name of Greece's northern province, birthplace of Alexander the Great.

As Macedonian Greek I would like to express my humble but proud opinion regarding the issue.

FYROM’s political world is in all likelihood ready to accept a double name formula. This is a formula in which, drawing on the proposals of the ICG, Greece would use a “non-problematical” name and international recognition within the framework of the UN based on the name “Republic of Macedonia.” Twelve years after the signing of the Interim Accord, the government in Skopje seems to believe that it is approaching achievement of a goal very close to the one it had originally set when the name dispute began in 1991. Now, the FYROM side is exploiting the inopportune and ‘unfair’ US recognition of its constitutional name to continue its foot-dragging, and has restricted itself to offering the formula of the ‘double name’—one for Greece and one for the rest of the world—in the knowledge that no Greek politician will accept a solution that puts his country in a position of international ‘apartheid.’

FYROM is monopolistically claiming titles, both geographical and historical. Long ago, in the evil days of Hitler, the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, described Czechoslovakia as 'a far-away country' of whose people 'we know nothing'. The same tragic error might easily be made today concering Macedonia.

How well known is it in the West that there are two Macedonias, separated by a common frontier?

How many know that the northern mini-Macedonia, known officially at the present as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, has a seat at the United Nations, whereas the southern mega-Macedonia does not, because it is not a 'nation- state' but only a province of Greece?

How many have noticed that the acronym FYROM is already relapsing into 'Macedonia' tout court, so that its representative in New York will soon sit behind a tablet simply inscribed 'Macedonia', thus implying that his state alone can rightly claim a Macedonian identity?

This upstart mini-Macedonia is a product of the terrible conflict which is described from many writers like the Professor John Koliopoulos (Plundreed Loualities) or known British officers Chris Woodhouse and Hammond. It did not appear as Macedonia on any map before the Second World War. It is a landlocked area with no natural boundaries. Its population, apart from the usual Balkan minorities, is mainly Slavonic and Albanian.

As 'Macedonia' it was a creation of Tito, to provide a launching-pad from which to invade and take over the real Macedonia in northern Greece. The real Macedonia, on the other hand, has a history of at least three millennia: it was the homeland of Alexander the Great; the first country in Europe to which St Paul was invited to 'come over and help us'; the mainstay of-the Allied defense against Mussolini in 1940, when (as we chose to put it) Britain 'stood alone'; and the birthplace of modern Greece's outstanding Politician, Constantinos Kararnanlis.

From the very beginning of FYROM'S independence, Greece declared it had no claims on FYROM'S territory. Greece's only serious grievance was, and still is, the use by FYROM of the name "Macedonia" and its derivatives.

Europeans and the Americans have not been very helpful on this matter. They never seriously considered the fact that the People's Republic of Macedonia was the only Stalin and Tito achievement that the West declared preservable, though there is no blame for declaring the small enclave viable. The blame is for disregarding facts, brushing aside the available historical data to punish Greece, as if Greece were the instigator of this vexing Balkan event. If history had meant anything to the Europeans and Americans, they should have discouraged Skopje at the outset from using the name "Macedonia." FYROM does not have the right to acquire, by international recognition, an advantage enjoyed by no other state in the world: to use a name which of itself propagandizes territorial aspiratioils."

Cappelli (1997), discussing the Bosnian question, appropriately pointed out that "international recognition by no means necessarily endows a state with legitimacy, especially when the recognition has been granted in such an impetuous manner in the midst of a crisis and if legitimacy is held to have any connection with a common history and a sense of common destiny as characteristics of the state's population, without which no state can survive." Every word of this statement on Bosnia applies to FYROM.

Greek people and specially the Macedonians as the undersigned, asks fYROM to adhere to its UN agreement and stop its schools and others from irredentist teachings, such as that northern Greece should be part of their country. As well, the Greek people l urges fYROM to adhere to UN and EU policy and reach agreement with Greece on a name for their new country – one that does not encourage fYROM irredentism

“Biliteral” recognitions models show that behind the reality is the hypocrisy, a behaviour common among the old West world.