AHEPA Urges Pres. Bush to Take Stronger Stance with FYROM

October 26, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Visit of Prime Minister of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Dear President Bush:

I am writing on behalf of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the nation’s largest and oldest American-based Greek heritage grassroots membership organization, on the occasion of the visit of Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski to The White House.

Mr. President, on October 3, you affirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and longtime ally Greece in the Balkans upon receiving the credentials of newly appointed Greek Ambassador Alexandros P. Mallias. Indeed Greece, as a member of the European Union, NATO, and the United Nations Security Council (2005-06), and the wealthiest nation in the area, is a viable source for stabilization in the Balkans.

As your White House statement of September 7, 2005 indicated, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M.) is “succeeding in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration.” Our position is to encourage this direction because it is in the best interest of the United States and Greece. As the United States’ strategic partner in the Balkans, Greece can certainly aid the process—and has—as a trade partner and top investor in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

However, an unresolved issue that prevents relations between Greece and F.Y.R.O.M. from reaching its apex is over the name of the latter country. The name-recognition issue between the two countries is a sensitive one, especially for the Greek government and its citizens, who seek to preserve the cultural and historical significance of its Macedonian province. In a speech presented at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars yesterday, The Honorable Dora Bakoyannis, mayor of Athens, indicated that textbooks in F.Y.R.O.M. “…continuously present Greek Macedonia, the historic Macedonia, as a land under Greek occupation.” Moreover, as further indication of the issue’s seriousness, Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis said: “We have the right, on the basis of the 1995 interim agreement, to oppose the neighboring country’s accession to international organizations under any name other than that of ‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. ’” However, despite these concerns the diplomatic will exists on the part of the Greek government to resolve the issue.

Therefore, we request that you communicate the importance of the name-recognition issue to Prime Minister Buckovski. In doing so, the United States will be serving its own best interest by contributing to the political and social stability in the Balkans as well as to economic development in the region.

Respectfully submitted,

Gus J. James, II
National President

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is the largest and oldest American-based, Greek heritage grassroots membership organization. Its scope is international with chapters in the United States, Canada, Greece, and Cyprus, and "sister" chapters in Australia and New Zealand under the auspices of AHEPA Australasia. AHEPA was founded on July 26, 1922 in response to the evils of bigotry and racism that emerged in early 20th century American society. It also helped Greek immigrants assimilate into society. Today, AHEPA brings the ideals of ancient Greece, which includes philanthropy, education, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence to the community. The AHEPA family consists of four organizations: AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope, Sons of Pericles and Maids of Athena. For more information about the organization or how to join, contact AHEPA Headquarters (202-232-6300) or visit the organization's newly redesigned website at http://www.ahepa.org.

HCS maintains an extensive archives of AHEPA articles and press releases which readers are invited to browse under the AHEPA Family Releases section of the site archives at http://www.helleniccomserve.com/contents.html.

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