August 17, 2011 – Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) calls on the research organization International Crisis Group (ICG) to retract its latest report on Macedonia. The report lacks credibility due to its blatant bias — evidenced by its partisan demands, selective and misleading presentation of information, and inconsistency with its own positions set forth in a prior ICG report. UMD believes that these gross flaws fundamentally undercut whatever valid observations there may be in the document.
The August 11, 2011 report celebrates the Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA) for calming inter-ethnic tensions, but then complains about an increase in the ethnic segregation of schools, ignoring how the OFA’s terms made this result inevitable. “In terms of ethnic harmony, segregated classrooms definitely are a step backwards, but ICG completely fails to recognize this is courtesy of the OFA. Either ICG didn’t bother to read Section 6 of the agreement they are praising, or they can’t take ‘yes’ for an answer,” said UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov.
The report brazenly describes statues of Macedonian heroes as “offensive” to non-Macedonians, while quite remarkably demanding that the country rename itself the “Republic of North Macedonia” with respect to all international relations. “The vast majority of the world – over 130 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and Canada — has already recognized the Republic of Macedonia under her one and only name. Still, some international think tanks like ICG refuse to accept reality. They also turn a blind eye to Greece’s many unconscionable provocations and misdeeds over the years,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski.
The 2011 ICG report curiously contradicts a 2001 ICG report, which included the following: “Ordinary Macedonians deeply resent the way the Framework Agreement was reached, (which is) a valid grievance. Its purpose of turning Macedonia into a ‘civic state’ … makes Macedonia an anomaly in a region of emphatically ‘ethnic’ states, three of which uphold fundamental challenges to the Macedonian identity. Greece vetoes international acceptance of Macedonia’s name, Serbia denies the autonomy of its church, and Bulgaria, while accepting Macedonia as a state, denies the existence of a Macedonian language and a Macedonian nation.”
Meanwhile, the 2001 ICG report only called for a bilateral agreement between Skopje and Athens, based on the term Republika Makedonija. “The original 2001 report was far from perfect, actually, but this new version clearly puts ICG’s impartiality and legitimacy in question,” said Nikolov.
“Macedonia has always been a leader in support of minority rights in the region. Macedonians in Greece would celebrate in the streets if they had even half of the privileges enjoyed by Macedonia’s minorities, even before the OFA,” said UMD Director of Canadian Operations Jim Daikos. “However, the attitude from Brussels and Athens is always the same: ‘do as I say, not as I do.'”
2011 ICG Report on Macedonia: http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/europe/balkans/macedonia/212-macedonia-ten-years-after-the-conflict.aspx
The original text of the Framework Agreement can be found by clicking here: http://faq.macedonia.org/politics/framework_agreement.pdf
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