In response to the comments made by South Australian Premier Mike Rann that ‘Macedonia belongs to Greece,’ the United Macedonian Diaspora branch in Canberra, Australia sent a letter calling on him to retract his statement and apologise to the Australian Macedonian community. To read Premier Rann’s statement, click HERE.
The Hon Mike Rann MP
Premier of South Australia
GPO Box 2343
ADELAIDE SA 5000
The United Macedonian Diaspora (“UMD”) notes with concern the inflammatory and anti-Macedonian comments made during your recent visit to Greece, stating that ‘Macedonia belongs to Greece.’
In actual fact, the Republic of Macedonia is a sovereign and democratic state; it is a candidate country for the European Union and the NATO alliance and a staunch ally of Australia and the United States in the war on terror. In short, Macedonia belongs to its citizens, not to any of its neighbours.
UMD hopes to shed some light on the issues related to the legal and constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia. Under pressure from nationalists and extremists, the Greek Government continues to deny the most fundamental human rights to its ethnic Macedonian national minority, which is the reason behind its irrational objection to the Republic of Macedonia’s legitimate and historical name. To support its bizarre stance towards its neighbour’s name, the Greek Government has portrayed a biased and inflammatory misrepresentation of Macedonian history, claiming that Macedonia is Greek.
These human rights abuses have been thoroughly documented by many international agencies, including the European Court of Human Rights, the OSCE, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United States’ State Department and the European Union. The Greek Government seeks to abrogate its responsibilities and crimes by denying the existence of its victims – ethnic Macedonians, and by extension, the Republic of Macedonia.
Australian Macedonians feel that the comments made are discriminatory and are shocked that an Australian leader would imply that one sovereign state “belongs” to another. Ideas such as these have resulted in too many wars in Southeast Europe, particularly during the 1990’s when radicals such as Slobodan Milosevic claimed that Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina “belonged” to Serbia.
UMD requests that you retract these regretful remarks, clarify your intent (as we believe it was unintentional), and apologise to the Australian Macedonian community and the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia. In addition, we hope that you will urge the Australian Government to recognize the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name as have the majority of countries around the world.
Director, Australia Office
UMD (Australia), GPO Box 900, Canberra City, ACT 2601