Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana)
March 15, 2012 – Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) applauds the efforts of Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana), the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to introduce a bill that promotes respect for the International Court of Justice, in the NATO Enhancement Act of 2012.
“Senator Lugar has been a champion for NATO enlargement since the fall of Communism in the early 90s,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “However, it is regrettable that a renewed call for a ‘roadmap’ to Macedonian membership is even necessary at this point in the process. A detailed roadmap was already provided to Macedonia, at the Washington Summit in 1999, and the country worked very hard to successfully meet or exceed every single requirement, as acknowledged by NATO in 2008.”
Koloski added: “Unfortunately, after all of that effort and expense, and after many generous Macedonian contributions to NATO missions, the Greek government chose to veto Macedonian membership in 2008, based on illegitimate pretenses, In so doing, they violated international law, and they destabilized the region’s security.”
Senator Lugar’s Act makes note of the December 5, 2011 International Court of Justice judgment against Greece, and calls on the U.S. Secretary of State to take this ruling into consideration. The ICJ ruling is legally binding, and cannot be appealed.
“In terms of meeting NATO requirements, Macedonia’s candidacy is no different than that of other former candidates, who have now already successfully entered NATO, like Croatia,” said UMD Board Chairman Stojan Nikolov, “But, Croatia did not have a meddlesome NATO member such as Greece to deal with, which signs treaties not to interfere with Macedonia’s membership in international organizations, then chooses to break those promises at its leisure.”
Nikolov added: “We all understand the concept of NATO consensus, but in light of the ICJ ruling, NATO leaders such as the United States have a responsibility to talk some sense to their Greek ally, encourage Greece to keep its promises for a change, and ask it to play a constructive role in regional security. Macedonia has clearly done its part. Now, Greece must turn its rhetoric about supporting NATO enlargement into real action.”
Senator Lugar is the first recipient of the UMD International Freedom Award.
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