October 1, 2010 – Washington, D.C. – 19 Members of Congress sent a letter today to President Barack Obama urging him to actively encourage the United States’ NATO allies to offer Macedonia a formal invitation to become a member of the alliance at the Lisbon Summit this upcoming November. Led by Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D-North Dakota) and Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-Michigan), the letter stated “Macedonia’s future in Euro-Atlantic institutions, as well as the security and stability of Southeast Europe, must no longer be negatively affected by bilateral issues with Greece.” Copies of the letter were sent to Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
The Members of Congress underscored Macedonia’s contributions to peace, democracy, stability, and security in Southeast Europe and elsewhere, making it clear “Macedonia is a close U.S. ally and has been acting as a de facto ally for some time.”
The Members of Congress drew attention to Macedonia’s commitment to U.S. and NATO-led international missions being a key staging area for NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999, participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2008, and being among the top four largest troop contributors per capita to ISAF, where Macedonia’s troops patrol the ISAF Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Click HERE for full text of letter.
United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is grateful to Congressman Pomeroy and Congresswoman Miller for taking the initiative in increasing Congressional support for Macedonia’s NATO membership, which is one of UMD’s top policy priorities. UMD praises all 19 members of Congress for standing behind Macedonia’s goals to join the Euro-Atlantic family of nations, and greatly appreciates their friendship. Among the members of Congress who signed the letter are Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee; Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Florida), the Co-Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission; Congressman Connie Mack (R-Florida), Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; and Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-Missouri), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight.
The letter to President Obama comes at a special time in light of the visit of Macedonian Defense Minister Zoran Konjanovski to Washington, D.C. early next week where he is to meet with Secretary Gates, Senior Obama Administration officials and Members of Congress. Last year, a similar letter was sent to Secretary of State Clinton by 15 members of Congress. Click HERE for full text of letter.
UMD commends the efforts of all Macedonian-American organizations, community leaders, fellow Macedonian-Americans, and American friends of Macedonia for all their hard work in educating members of Congress about the issues concerning the Macedonian-Americans. In addition, UMD thanks the Embassy of Macedonia for their hard work in advancing U.S.-Macedonian relations. UMD fully supports Macedonia’s efforts to join NATO.
Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora is a leading international non-governmental organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.
UMD’s headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., and it has representatives serving Macedonian communities around the world, including Brussels, Canberra, Chicago, Detroit, Kiev, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York, Ottawa, Paris, Perth, St. Petersburg, Stuttgart, Sydney, Toronto, and Vienna.