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The Washington Times 05/04/2008

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Letter submitted to the Washington Times in response to article "A name to reckon"

 

Hellenic Electronic Center (HEC)

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with 37,000 Hellenes as members and

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May 9, 2008

 

 

Metojida A. Koloski's propagandistic diatribe in the May 4 Washington Times is a perfect example of why Greece was fully justified in its veto of Skopje's candidacy to join the NATO alliance. It is Mr. Koloski and fellow travelers who are "delusional" if they think the Slavic people have any connection to Alexander the Great and the Macedonian heritage, not the Greek government or people. It is precisely such preposterous assertions that have provoked Greece. Even critics

Greece over the yeas such as Misha Glenny and others have stated that their were no Slavs during the time of Alexander, and henceforth have criticized the positions put forward by the likes of Mr. Koloski.

Various criticisms of Greece that have been put forward in various commentaries following the Greek veto have all conceded that Alexander the Great and Macedonia are part of Greek history. The Times has done its readers a profound disservice by publishing propaganda that openly espouses an ultranationalist agenda emanating from Skopje. Greek governments over the years have attempted to respond to Skopje's fanatical provocations through diplomacy, but the latter has failed to demonstrate any good will, and Mr. Koloski's comment about Greek "delusions" with regard to Alexander proves all the points put forward by Greece.

At the NATO summit, France, Italy, Spain, Iceland, and Luxembourg supported the Greek veto.Germany,Hungary, Slovakia and some others expressed understanding for the Greek position. The desecration of the Greek flag by extremists in Skopje demonstrate that Greek fears are correct. All Christians everywhere should be offended by the desecration of the Cross on the Greek flag which was twisted into a swastika. Jews, Greeks, and all nations that fought

against and suffered under the evils of Nazism should be appalled by what was done to the Greek flag by fringe extremists in Skopje. The NATO alliance has the responsibility to support all member states, and as long as the government in Skopje does not renounce its claims on Greek territory and history, it will

continue to support Greece.

 

 

Theodore G. Karakostas This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

Member of HEC Executive Council

www.greece.org

 

A name to reckon with

 

By Metodija A. Koloski*

 

 

 

May 4, 2008

 

 

 

The recent Greek veto of the Republic of Macedonia's NATO membership during the NATO Bucharest Summit earlier this month was unfounded and contrary to the principles of NATO and its member states.

Macedonia fulfilled all of the membership criteria set forth by NATO and all other NATO members supported its admission into the alliance. Despite not yet being a member of the Alliance, Macedonia participates in NATO operations in Bosnia and Afghanistan.

Macedonia also recently assumed command of NATO's former host nation support coordination center that provides logistical support for KFOR forces in Kosovo, and Macedonia is participating in combat operations alongside

American forces in Iraq.

Greece's claims that it seeks a "mutually acceptable" solution to the "name dispute" and that it wants "good and neighborly" relations with Macedonia were betrayed by its veto and its acts since the NATO Summit. These acts have

been carried out with disturbing bravado following Greece's self-proclaimed "success" at the Summit.

It was Greece, not Macedonia, that rejected the most recent proposal to resolve the "name dispute." Moreover, Greece's veto violated the 1995 Interim Accord that it signed with Macedonia, which binds Greece's right to veto Macedonia's NATO bid or any other international organization that Macedonia would like to join as long as it joins under the U.N. provisional reference term used to identify Macedonia.

It is now clear that Greece does not seek a "mutually acceptable" solution, but only a unilaterally imposed solution mandated to Macedonia by Greece. Having failed on all other fronts to prevail in the "name dispute," Greece believes it can abuse its NATO and EU membership to extort further concessions from Macedonia. In pursuing its bully diplomacy against Macedonia, Greece has sacrificed NATO interests and prestige in the region and jeopardized regional peace and stability simply to satisfy its pedantic objection to Macedonia's name.

Since the Bucharest Summit, Greece has distanced itself even further from the last proposal advanced by U.N. Ambassador Matthew Nimetz.

Additionally, in moves eerily reminiscent of the illegal Greek trade embargo against Macedonia from 1991 to 1995, Greece recently banned the import of meat from Macedonia into Greece and barred Macedonian Airlines Transport

(MAT), a private company, from flying into or over Greece.

The rationale is that the meat is labeled as coming from the Republic of Macedonia and MAT includes the word "Macedonian" in its name. These are hardly the actions of a nation claiming it seeks "good and neighborly" relations with its neighbor.

In addition, most appalling, was Greece's attempt to literally buy its way out of the "dispute" when the Greek foreign minister announced Greece would make substantial foreign aid available to Macedonia if Macedonia simply capitulated

to Greece and allowed Greece to dictate a new name for Macedonia.

As ridiculous as Greece's actions and posturing are, they are nothing new. Greece has pursued a policy of negating everything Macedonian and eradicating the Macedonian culture and national identity within its borders and in the

wider region ever since Greece acquired a portion of geographic Macedonia because of the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest.

To this day, Greece denies the existence of a large Macedonian minority in northern Greece though numerous U.S. State Department Reports, Human Rights Watch Reports, and other independent nongovernmental organizations have

confirmed its existence time after time.

Recent claims by the Political Party of Macedonian Minority in Greece, Rainbow, put the number of Macedonians in northern Greece at nearly 200,000. However, the Greek government continues to claim these people do not exist and indeed that Macedonians either inside or outside of Greece do not exist.

Greece's objections to Macedonia's name are not based on the Greek delusion of a direct link to an ancient Macedonian king nor on Greece's false claims that Macedonia harbors an expansionist agenda, but only on Greece's refusal to

acknowledge the existence of the Macedonian people. Indeed, Greece hopes to impose a solution to the "dispute" under which Macedonians will be called something, anything, other than Macedonians.

One would hope Greece would not want to be considered complicit in a current long line of minority rights violations, human rights abrogations and political rights concerns.

The United States has been a beacon of light for democracy and human rights, and one would hope that just as the U.S. has taken the plight of Tibetans into consideration in regards to its relations with China, the same respect should be

taken in its relations with Greek authorities of the rights of the Macedonian minority in Greece.

The United States should continue to support Macedonia's name and NATO membership.

 



* Metodija A. Koloski is president of United Macedonian Diaspora, an international nongovernmental organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world. (http://www.umdiaspora.org)

 

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