WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 24, 2008 – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) condemns Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’ threat that the Hellenic Republic (Greece) will block Macedonia’s entry to NATO and the EU if a solution to the Greek-instigated “name dispute” between the Hellenic Republic and the Republic of Macedonia is not reached in the next few weeks; as he stated to the Hellenic Republic’s Parliament on February 22, 2008, that “No solution means no invitation.”
While Macedonians are used to hostility from Athens, it is still shocking that the leader of a NATO and EU member is threatening Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic integration. Prime Minister Karamanlis’ threat confirms that the Hellenic Republic, despite diplomatic pressure from the rest of NATO and the EU, remains committed to its own short-term, xenophobic interests and that claims of the Hellenic Republic’s contributions to or desire for regional stability are disingenuous at best.
The Prime Minister’s threat shows that Macedonia, or any other nation, cannot rely on the Hellenic Republic to honor its treaty obligations as this threat violates the 1995 Interim Agreement between the two nations. Under Article 11 of the Interim Agreement, the Hellenic Republic must allow Macedonia’s entry into any international organization provided that Macedonia enters under a certain provisional reference term used at the UN to refer to it. The Interim Agreement is in full force and Macedonia is willing to accede to NATO under the provisional reference.
Recent events reveal that the “intransigent” party to the “dispute” is not Macedonia, but the Hellenic Republic. Macedonia changed its flag, amended its constitution, and accepted the use of the provisional reference all pursuant to the Interim Agreement and has fully abided by such agreement. Despite Macedonia’s unprecedented concessions and its adherence to the Interim Agreement, the Hellenic Republic continues its quixotic campaign against Macedonia and the Macedonian people.
Prime Minister Karamanlis’ government has also proven to be an untrustworthy party to the UN mediated talks to resolve the “dispute.” Just last week the Hellenic Republic again leaked sensitive proposals presented to both nations to resolve the “dispute” to the Greek media despite its promise to keep such proposals confidential. This was not the first time that the Hellenic Republic has disrupted the UN mediated talks in such a manner.
NATO military experts and diplomatic officials agree that Macedonia has met the benchmarks established for all states wishing to join NATO and Macedonia’s solid contributions to NATO operations across the globe are hailed throughout the alliance. In the face of this reality, the Hellenic Republic has engaged in a preposterous and baseless propaganda campaign claming that ethnic Macedonians do not exist and that Macedonia harbors territorial ambitions against its more powerful neighbors, rather than unconditionally support Macedonia’s efforts to join NATO and the EU. The Hellenic Republic’s efforts to stymie Macedonia’s progress and Euro-Atlantic integration are a shameful abomination that should never emanate from any NATO and EU member and are not in the spirit of the Interim Agreement.
The United Macedonian Diaspora urges Greece to end its diplomatic blackmail and abide by the rules to which it agreed to in the Interim Agreement. UMD further urges the Macedonian government to be firm and prudent in its negotiations with the Hellenic Republic regarding an issue as sensitive as the name of not only our ancestral homeland, but also our people and identity.
Founded 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora, is a global non-governmental organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.
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