November 16, 2010 – Washington, D.C. – On November 15, 2010, four U.S. Senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to engage in concerted diplomacy to encourage NATO allies to offer Macedonia a formal invitation to become a member of the Alliance at this weekend’s NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. Signed by Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Richard G. Lugar (R-IN), James E. Risch (R-ID), and George V. Voinovich (R-OH), the letter stated “the United States should make clear that this (“name issue”) should not be tied to the vital work of NATO enlargement…a clear invitation to Macedonia to join the Alliance at the Lisbon Summit will benefit U.S. national security and NATO’s global mission.” Copies of the letter were sent to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
The Senators underscored that “apart from augmenting stability and political development in Southeastern Europe, Macedonian accession to NATO will encourage further contributions to and interoperability with NATO operations.” The Senators drew attention to Macedonia’s 255-troop contingent to Afghanistan, being among the top four largest troop contributors per capita to ISAF, and Macedonia’s contribution to multilateral missions in Lebanon and Bosnia. Click HERE for full text of letter.
United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is grateful to Senator Lugar, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for taking the leadership initiative in the U.S. Senate in increasing support for Macedonia’s NATO membership. Senator Lugar, the U.S. Senate’s most senior Republican, has been a friend to Macedonia since becoming Senator in 1976, and is a recipient of the UMD International Freedom Award, along with Senator Voinovich who has been a long-standing friend of Macedonia who is retiring at the end of this year. UMD thanks Senator Begich, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senator Risch, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for their strong support of Macedonia.
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 and be part of the Euro-Atlantic family of nations.