UMD Rejects Any Compromise Over Macedonia’s Name

Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) has been closely following the recent decision by the Macedonian government to rename its main airport in Skopje to ‘Alexander the Great International Airport.’ Negative remarks made by Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis threatening to block Macedonia’s NATO and EU memberships, are nonconstructive and do little to further the good neighbor relations between Macedonia and Greece.

In light of this week’s visit of the UN special envoy on the name dispute, Ambassador Matthew Nimetz, to Greece and Macedonia, UMD rejects any compromise over the historic, current, legal, and constitutionally binding name of the Republic of Macedonia. The name Macedonia is and will remain the name of our ancestral identity and nationality, regardless of how many negotiations are undertaken; our name will not be changed.

Since the United States’ recognition of Macedonia’s constitutional name on November 4, 2004, Greece and the Greek-American Diaspora have exploited many incidents to garner further support for Greece’s stance on the name issue. This latest reaction by Greece’s government representatives and others to the name of Macedonia’s main airport is merely a further example of such exploitation for Greek purposes. This follows ongoing and futile efforts undertaken by Greek lobbyists in the U.S. Congress to undermine U.S. politics by the introduction of anti-Macedonian resolutions.

UMD believes that it is in the best interests of both Greece and the Republic of Macedonia that Macedonia becomes a full-fledged member of both NATO and the EU. Greece’s support for Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations will boost political, economic, and socio-cultural ties. According to Article 11, Section 1 of the UN-brokered Interim Agreement between Macedonia and Greece signed in September 1995, Greece “agrees not to object to the application by or the membership” of Macedonia “in international, multilateral and regional organizations and institutions of which” Greece “is a member” so as long as Macedonia joins under the name “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” Blocking Macedonia’s EU and NATO membership will be a serious infringement of this agreement.

Furthermore, as an EU member, Greece’s denial of the existence of a Macedonian minority within its borders is also in violation of international law and human rights commitments; specifically the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and various OSCE commitments. Nevertheless, our organization expects that both of these issues will be resolved in a mutually satisfactory manner, and that the Republic of Macedonia will soon join the Euro-Atlantic structures under its constitutional name.

The purpose of the United Macedonian Diaspora is to address the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world. As such, UMD will not support anything less than the use of the constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia, as the country’s official name, for bilateral and international use. Moreover, we wish to express our regret and disappointment with some EU and NATO member states regarding their ongoing refusal to recognize the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name.

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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 [email protected]

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United Macedonian Diaspora met with Ambassador Matthew Nimetz in May 2005. To read about the meeting, please click HERE.

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