November 22, 2010 – Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is extremely disappointed that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) did not formally invite Macedonia to become a member at this past weekend’s Lisbon Summit. UMD strongly urges NATO member states (as well as other countries) to use concerted diplomatic (and economic) efforts vis-à-vis Greece to end its opposition to Macedonia’s entry into the Alliance.
“NATO should no longer allow Greece to jeopardize the security and stability of the entire Southeast European region,” stated UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov. “Greece has been an irresponsible actor in Europe for quite some time, not only putting the continent’s economic future at risk but, also, creating regional problems.”
Macedonia’s contributions to peace, democracy, stability and security in Southeast Europe, Afghanistan and elsewhere make it clear that Macedonia has been acting as a de facto member of NATO for some time. Macedonia’s future in Euro-Atlantic institutions, as well as the security and stability of Southeast Europe, must no longer be negatively affected by Greece’s indecent demands. Macedonia has met all the criteria for NATO membership as explicitly stated in the NATO’s 2008 Bucharest and 2010 Lisbon Declarations.
The so-called “name issue” mentioned in these Declarations was invented by Greece to impede Macedonia’s accession into international organizations, such as NATO. The Macedonian government and citizens have made herculean efforts and demonstrated remarkable patience — over a period of almost 20 years – to help Greece resolve its foregoing artificially invented issue over Macedonia’s inherent sovereign and rightful name.
“Patience has an end; time has run out on Greece’s intransigence and, importantly, its flouting of what is best for NATO and Southeast Europe,” stated UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “The best course for Macedonia is to cease further ‘negotiations’ with Greece – negotiations that Greece clearly wishes to continue indefinitely, in effect moving the finish line back, and making additional, unreasonable demands in an effort to divert attention from the real issue at hand — the continued and systematic discrimination of the Macedonian national minority in Greece. An independent Macedonian state is anathema to Greece because it is an embarrassing reminder of Greece’s failed attempts to wipe out the Macedonian people, identity, and language.”
UMD will continue its grassroots efforts to educate U.S. and European policymakers on the importance to all of Europe (including Greece) of Macedonia becoming a formal member in NATO. “UMD urges NATO leaders to stress to Greece that enough is enough of their blackmail tactics and ugly gamesmanship,” stated Nikolov. UMD reiterates its position that Macedonia should immediately cease “negotiations” with Greece as outlined in the Resolution passed by the UMD Board of Directors at the 2nd UMD Global Conference. For full text of the resolution, click here: http://umdiaspora.org/content/view/488/1/.