United Macedonian Diaspora and Macedonian Human Rights Movement International – Press Release
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New York, New York – On November 8, 2007, Washington, D.C.-based United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) President Metodija A. Koloski, Vice-President Aleksandar Mitreski and Toronto-based Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) Secretary Mark Opashinov held a meeting with United Nations Special Envoy Ambassador Matthew Nimetz to discuss recent developments on the name dispute between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia.
UMD and MHRMI reiterated their positions regarding the name dispute stating that the Republic of Macedonia was a federally constituted republic under Yugoslavia since 1944 and had maintained relations with Greece years before it declared independence in 1991. It was not until 1988 when Greece realized that independence was in sight that it renamed “Northern Greece” to the “Province of Macedonia.” Greece continued its campaign of non-recognition and persecution of its sizable Macedonian minority and any proposed name other than “Republic of Macedonia” would legitimize Greece’s official policy.
The Republic of Macedonia is neither a de jure nor a de facto threat to its neighbours. In fact, the Republic of Macedonia’s actions stand in stark contrast to Greece’s intransigent position which, rather than encouraging stability, promotes instability and discord in the Balkans. The unilateral imposition of an embargo against the Republic of Macedonia in 1992 was just the most blatant attempt to thwart the survival of the Republic. UMD and MHRMI are deeply concerned for the stability of the government of the Republic of Macedonia and for the entire Balkan region if Greece’s threats of vetoing Macedonia’s NATO candidacy thwart its entry into the NATO alliance.
UMD and MHRMI expressed concern to Ambassador Nimetz regarding irredentist statements recently made by Metropolitan Bishop Anthimos of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Thessaloniki. A call for the partition of at least two other Balkan states (the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria) by a leader of the Greek Orthodox Church is simply unacceptable and, moreover, is inconsistent with the Greece’s confirmation of the “common existing frontier as an enduring and inviolable international border” under the terms of the 1995 Interim Accord between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia.
UMD and MHRMI pointed out that, in accordance with the relevant international norms, the Republic of Macedonia, as any other country, has the right to self-determination. One of the basic demonstrations of this right is the right to one’s identity and name. No nation has the right to name another. The United Nations should follow the example of over 120 countries worldwide which have recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name.
Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is an international non-governmental and non-partisan organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world. For additional information, please contact UMD at 202-294-3400, or email@example.com.
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. Its main objective is to pursue and attain all fundamental human and national rights including the right of freedom of expression and association and to support all democratic principles for all ethnic Macedonians, and other oppressed peoples. For more information please contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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