WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 15, 2008 – Representatives from the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) met yesterday with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Daniel Fried, to discuss bilateral political and economic relations between the United States and the Republic of Macedonia, as well as Macedonia’s continued progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration. UMD thanked Ambassador Fried for his pivotal role in the United States’ recognition of Macedonia’s constitutional name and his indefatigable diplomatic efforts in connection with defusing the absurd “name dispute.”
UMD, on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Americans of Macedonian descent, expressed gratitude for the recent signing of a Declaration of Strategic Partnership and Cooperation between the United States and Macedonia. UMD believes this agreement will help strengthen security, economic, cultural, and educational ties between the United States and Macedonia.
Furthermore, UMD discussed historic ethnic cleansing perpetrated against Macedonians, as well as ongoing human rights violations being experienced by the sizable Macedonian minority in Greece. Relatedly, UMD stressed the need for Greece to change its deplorable policy of not permitting Greek citizens of Macedonian ethnicity — whom the Greek government forced out of Greece at the end of the Greek Civil War in 1948 — to return to the country, as well as its unjust policy of not providing those individuals with any (much less just) compensation for the land and other property the Greek government seized from them.
UMD also informed Assistant Secretary Fried that since the unfortunate Greek veto of Macedonia’s NATO membership at the recent Bucharest Summit, anti-Macedonian activity in Greece has steadily increased and that Greece’s actions flout NATO’s directive that the “name dispute” be resolved with all due haste. Among the incidents reported by UMD were (1) the Greek prohibition on all private monetary wire transfers from Greece to Macedonia, (2) the Greek ban of Macedonian Airlines Transport — a private commercial airline — from Greek airspace, (3) the Greek ban on the importation of meat from Macedonia, and (4) the recent coordinated criminal assaults against Macedonian citizens in Greece.
Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is an international non-governmental organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.
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