ABA Sends Letter to Congressman Tom Lantos

The United Macedonian Diaspora would like to extend its sincere thanks to the American Bosnian Association for its recent letter to Congress supporting the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia.

Though motivated, our organization can only succeed in its goals through solidarity with unbiased third parties, capable of distinguishing the gross injustices carried out in the name of national chauvinism.  We applaud their courage and integrity and offer our heartfelt gratitude.

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March 23, 2007

The Honorable Tom Lantos, Chairman
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
2170 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC20515

 

RE:  H.R. 987 – NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2007

Dear Mr. Chairman:

The American Bosnian Association (ABA) is the multi-ethnic association of Bosnian Americans founded in 2002 in the United States and Canada.  We will fully support integrating Bosnian and Herzegovina (BiH) into the western family of nations as soon as Bosnia and Herzegovina reaches the proper level of development of its democratic institutions and equal level of constitutional protection of the rights of all its ethnic groups, Muslims, Croats and Serbs, and all its citizens.  We will continue to promote our views in this regard in continued discussion with BiH government representatives and US authorities. ABA will continue to address other matters needing immediate consideration in Bosnia.  These matters include: (1) the continued political imprisonment in Croatia of former BiH member of the Presidency and winner of the first democratic election in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1990, Mr. Fikret Abdic, (2) ongoing and appropriate political and governmental reforms in BiH, and (3) the outrageous continued expropriation of large companies in BiH such as Agrokomerc and some others.

Regarding H.R. 987, it has come to our attention that the inclusion of an amendment in the U.S. Senate – when that body considered their version of the NATO Freedom Consolidation Act (S. 494) – entailed inappropriate nomenclature for the Republic of Macedonia.  The amendment added the acronym of FYROM, or “The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,” behind all references to the Republic of Macedonia in the text of the bill and companion report.  This is a strong insult to the government and people of the Republic of Macedonia, which the United States has recognized as the preferred name for Macedonia since 2004.   

The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the people of Macedonia deserve to be called by the nation-state name of their choosing, regardless of what an international organization chooses to do on the matter.  The hard pressed independence which was won by both countries from the former communist Yugoslavia deserves respect and your help in holding the line against the inclusion of the Senate “FYROM” amendment.  Please hold hard against inclusion of this Senate Amendment in the final bill when in conference committee with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  And, please do not consider the Senate bill in lieu of the House bill.

If the ABA can provide additional input on this matter, please have your Committee’s staff contact our Government Affairs Advisor, Mr. Joe Foley, on 301-294-0937 at their earliest convenience.

Thank you.

Bozidar Darko Sicel, President
American Bosnian Association

CC:   Hon. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Members, Foreign Affairs Committee  
        Hon. Robert Wexler, Chairman, Europe Subcommittee
        Hon. Elton Gallegly, Ranking Member, Europe Subcommittee