UMD’s Strong Opposition to S. Res. 602

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is strongly opposed to S. Res. 602 introduced yesterday by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson. S. Res. 602 is misleading, offensive to the Macedonian people, and contrary to longstanding U.S. principles and policies supporting national self-determination. The full text of the resolution can be found HERE.

Macedonian-Americans and friends of Macedonia can send a letter to their Senator opposing S. Res. 602 by clicking HERE.

Over 95% of Macedonian respondents to a recent survey conducted by UMD were unequivocally against changing Macedonia’s name and identity in order to join NATO and the EU. This position – of maintaining Macedonia’s name, as well as its identity — is shared by Macedonia’s President Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, who considers the agreement to be unconstitutional and against the will of the Macedonian people.

S. Res. 602 suggests that anyone who opposes a name change must be pro-Russian. This is both baseless and absurd, as the resolution itself details Macedonia’s decidedly historic pro-American stance, and that it has no ties to Russia. This resolution is harmful to America’s image, as it promotes an unsupportable agreement that likely would cause further instability.

U.S. recognizes Macedonia as the Republic of Macedonia, as do 137 other nations. Supporting a referendum and constitutional amendments, as proposed by S. Res. 602, is contrary to longstanding U.S. foreign policy that affirms a nation’s right to self-determination. Furthermore, it runs contrary to UN Resolution 817 and the 1995 UN Interim Accord, which was brokered and endorsed by the U.S. in continuity.

S. Res. 602 claims that the name change would allow for Macedonia to be admitted into NATO and the EU. In fact, this is not ensured by the agreement. Even if Macedonia were to change its name, there are no guarantees that it would be invited to join NATO. The agreement’s success hinges not only on passage of the referendum in Macedonia and constitutional changes but, also, on its ratification in the Greek Parliament (where there is also significant opposition to it), as well as ratification by all of the NATO member states. In addition, EU membership may never materialize, as the bloc is averse to admitting new members for at least another decade.

UMD urges the U.S. Senate to block S. Res. 602 as it alienates a steadfast U.S. ally and damages our reputation as a committed partner in Eastern Europe and across the globe.