UMDiaspora Representatives Meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia

Washington, D.C. – United Macedonian Diaspora representatives, Metodija A. Koloski, Denis Manevski, and Marina Veljanovska, met yesterday with United States Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic to discuss U.S.-Macedonian relations.

UMDiaspora expressed gratitude over the U.S. Government’s continued policy in referring to Macedonia by its constitutional name, noting its dissatisfaction over the Greek Foreign Minister’s warning yesterday that Greece would not support Macedonian bids to join the European Union and NATO if the country insists on referring to itself as the “Republic of Macedonia.” UMDiaspora will not support any other name for Macedonia other than its constitutional name.

In regards to Macedonia’s eventual NATO membership, the Ambassador stated that Macedonia has excellent prospects for an invitation to join in 2008, so long as it continues to work hard and meets the criteria. This will require sustained effort in the next 12-18 months. Ambassador Milovanovic noted that the previous government left a solid foundation for the new government by passing many laws vital to reform, and is optimistic that those reforms will be ongoing. The U.S. Embassy will continue to encourage, foster, and support reforms necessary for Macedonia to meet eligibility criteria for Euro-Atlantic integration.

UMDiaspora also remarked on the talent of young Macedonians in information technology, congratulating Delchevo High School students who won this year’s State Department Doors to Diplomacy Award. UMDiaspora intends to act as a resource for increased U.S.-Macedonian cooperation in academic/student exchanges, and to assist interested scholars in obtaining vital research, travel and other funding through grants and a variety of sources such as Fulbright and internationally available scholarships.

The UMDiaspora representatives and the Ambassador also discussed the need for higher levels of foreign direct investment in Macedonia and enhanced trading opportunities. It is only through such investments that Macedonia will acquire the necessary funds to meet requisite standards for NATO and EU accession. Macedonia must become a business destination of choice in Southeast Europe, and offers the potential utilization of a skilled labor force available at competitive wages.

The United Macedonian Diaspora is pleased with and appreciative of Ambassador Milovanovic’s counsel and support to Macedonia’s government in meeting necessary reforms, and is confident that she will continue developing strong political and socio-economic relationships between the U.S and Macedonia through all appropriate channels. In addition, UMDiaspora expressed its enthusiasm and commitment to the best interests of Macedonia and Macedonians, and anticipates rich and fruitful collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Macedonia, its staff, and with Her Excellency Gillian Milovanovic.

Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora is an international membership organization based in Washington, D.C. addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.

For more information about United Macedonian Diaspora the public is invited to contact the D.C. office at (202) 294-3400, or e-mail at i[email protected]

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Read the press release from last year’s UMDiaspora meeting with Ambassador Milovanovic by clicking HERE.

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