The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), as one of the leading voices for Macedonians worldwide, strongly rejects Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ comments that Greece is the only constructive partner towards reaching a solution on the name issue. The Greek PM further noted that the neighboring countries, Albania and Bulgaria, could attest to Greece’s supposed constructiveness. The comments by the Greek PM were made this past Tuesday at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C.
“Although UMD does not believe Macedonia should negotiate its name, Macedonia has been more than constructive in the UN-led negotiations with Greece,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “Samaras true beliefs were presented in 2008 on national Greek TV when he stated that Macedonia would eventually be divided between a greater Albania and greater Bulgaria and thus Greece should not work to resolve the name dispute it imposed on Macedonia.”
“It is not constructive to stir the pot by adding Albania and Bulgaria to Greece’s agenda to impose a new name on Macedonia,” further noted Koloski.
The Republic of Macedonia joined the UN in 1993 under the imposed name “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,” changed its flag and its Constitution in a show of good faith, and has been willing to join international organizations under the UN name. Greece, on the other hand, continues to block Macedonia’s membership into NATO and the EU, has upped the requirements that Macedonia must change its name for all uses “erga omnes,” including in its Constitution and passports, and has continuously waged a propaganda war against Macedonia and its people.
UMD strongly urges the Greek Prime Minister and his government to stop the blame game, and hiding behind the “name issue” to rally domestic public support amidst the grave economic and political crises currently present in Greece. UMD is deeply concerned regarding the rise of extremism in Greece, which has resulted in curbing people’s freedoms, including minority and religious rights and the freedom of expression of the sizable Macedonian minority in the country. Although, the Greek Prime Minister recently vowed to put an end to the Greek neo-Nazi political party Golden Dawn, yesterday’s release of three members of Parliament, charged with criminal activities, from jail shows a great deal of concern for the future stability of the country.
UMD took note of the EU foreign policy chief’s comments earlier this week in Washington, D.C. calling on leaders in the Balkans to look at the bigger picture for the future of the region. Given the importance of stability in the region and the NATO and EU enlargement processes, the Greek Prime Minister should meet with the Macedonian Prime Minister, something that the Macedonian Prime Minister has been requesting for a long time now, in order to resolve their differences. UMD urges the U.S. Administration to disregard the Greek Prime Minister’s comments, and lead the way to pave the path for Macedonia to be invited to join NATO at the NATO Summit in the United Kingdom in 2014.