Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Withdrawal of U.S. Recognition of FYROM as 'Macedonia'?


Washington, D.C-- “Withdrawal of Americaʼs recognition of FYROM as ʽMacedoniaʼ could be near. It could make the list of one of the first examples of the changes in Washington policy promised by Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) are jointly advocating the withdrawal of U.S. recognition of FYROM as ʽMacedoniaʼ, in a soon-to-be-published newspaper Op-Ed. Menendez is a fellow Democrat and close friend of Senator Obama and of his Vice Presidential running mate Senator Joe Biden, serving with them on the Senateʼs Europe Subcommittee. Snowe is a close friend of Senator McCain and one of the few fellow Republican mavericks in the Senate,” said leaders of the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH).

These CEH leaders stressed that, “Obamaʼs and McCainʼs focus on improving Americaʼs image abroad will require closer U.S. adherence to the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, OECD and international law. The spirit of these international conventions opposes a country seeking a name that describes neighboring territory that its citizens want to annex.”

“All sides of the issue recognize that ʽMacedoniaʼ describes an ancient kingdom, the majority of which is in northern Greece, and they are aware of numerous recent examples of FYROMʼs citizensʼ desire to annex this territory. As well, the opinion of Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America, Demetrios, who was born and raised in the Macedonian region of Greece, is highly regarded by both nominees. They both invited him to participate in their recent national conventions.”

“Recognition of FYROM as ʽMacedoniaʼ was an interim measure, as explained in early November of 2004 by Condoleezza Rice to Archbishop Demetrios and some of our members. She said that the U.S. advocated a final name negotiated by the UN and acceptable to Greece. Some Congressional Republicans and senior UN and US officials would like Rice to reverse that recognition decision before leaving office. They believe it froze FYROMʼs movement toward a name acceptable to Greece. Furthermore, FYROMʼs lack of movement on the name recently thwarted U.S. efforts to make FYROM part of NATO. This set back the NATO Membership Action Plan and injured U.S. security interests.”

“The administrationʼs recognition of FYROM as ʽMacedoniaʼ has put the U.S. in the untenable position of effectively supporting FYROMʼs irredentism against the north of Greece, an American ally. FYROMʼs irredentist aims were made clear by its recent rejection of Macedonian names that describe only territory within their borders – Northern Macedonia or Upper Macedonia – and by its Prime Ministerʼs recent appearance at a ceremony standing before a map showing northern Greece annexed.”

CEH leaders concluded by saying that, “Secretary Riceʼs timetable and options have narrowed. She must either:
(1) utilize what appears to be her only chance of unfreezing UN and NATO efforts and disassociating America from FYROMʼs irredentist goals -- withdrawing the interim recognition of FYROM as ʽMacedoniaʼ; or
(2) leave office with this destabilizing situation in the Balkans, failure of the NATO Membership Action Plan and irredentist-supporting image as part of the Bush Administrationʼs international legacy.”

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