AHI Sends Letter to Pres. Bush Regarding
Upcoming Meeting with FYROM's Buckovski

AHI Sends Letter to President George W. Bush Regarding his Forthcoming Meeting with FYROM Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski

WASHINGTON, DC—On October 25, 2005, AHI President Gene Rossides sent a letter to President George W. Bush regarding his forthcoming meeting with FYROM Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski on October 27, 2005. The text of the letter follows:

October 25, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Re: Your Forthcoming Meeting with FYROM Prime Minister, Vlado Buckovski

Dear Mr. President:

We take this opportunity to write and bring to your attention a number of issues as you prepare for your forthcoming meeting this Friday, October 27, 2005, with the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Vlado Buckovski.

First, let me reiterate once again, that the decision by your administration through the actions of the State Department to recognize the FYROM on November 4, 2004 was misguided and a very insensitive action of significant proportion towards our staunch ally and supporter in the Balkans, Greece. That decision was and is harmful to U.S. interests in the Balkans. Names have a powerful significance. They are used for territorial claims and interference in the internal affairs of one’s neighbors. This is particularly so in the Balkans.

Be assured Mr. President that the overwhelming percent of approximately 1,500,000 Americans of Hellenic descent continue to be troubled by this decision. Your administration’s decision provided FYROM with an excuse to become even more intransigent with Greece during the UN mediation efforts led by UN special mediator Matthew Nimetz.

In FYROM today, school curricula continues to convey and promote:

hostile and negative historical relations between Greece and FYROM; and

irredentism towards Greece’s northern province of Macedonia which they portray as being their territory with boundaries that extend to almost Mount Olympus.

By its acquiescence to this educational material, FYROM is in violation of its obligation under Article 7 of the Interim Accord with Greece, which states that FYROM will not encourage negative, offensive or irredentist attitudes towards Greece.

Greece’s objections to FYROM regarding the name issue are very significant to Greece, which, considers this issue as important to its national security interests as your administration does with regards to actions taken in Iraq.

This issue is important for U.S. interests also, if our goal is to bring stability in the Balkans, because this continued unresolved issue in a very volatile region undermines that stability.

Recognition of FYROM by your administration in and of itself has not been able to provide the kind of stability that is necessary for FYROM to continue to remain intact. There are still extreme ethnic elements that threaten to pull the country apart. The irony is that Greece has been the glue that thus far has kept the country intact. Greece has no claim to the territory of FYROM and is the main source of direct investments in FYROM and its biggest trade partner. Also, with Greece’s invaluable assistance, FYROM could ultimately be brought into the European Union.

If the United States is interested in promoting peace, democracy, stability and economic progress in the Balkans, our main ally in the region in promoting these goals is and has been Greece. However, the actions of your administration regarding the FRYOM issue this past year have had a harmful impact on Greece and on our relations with Greece, our long-time loyal and NATO ally, EU member and a member of the United Nations Security Council for 2005-2006.

We therefore urge you, Mr. President, in the interest of the United States, to please convey to Mr. Buckovski to have his country continue its diplomatic dialogue with Greece on the name issue in accordance with UN and EU policy and take steps to correct school curricula material.

In addition, he should be made to understand, in no uncertain terms, that while the United States will lend support for his country, ultimately our most important ally in the region is Greece and that the United States will not equate the FYROM, a nation of only 13 years, of little, if any, strategic, economic or political value to the United States, with Greece, a long-time important strategic, political and economic ally of the United States, who fought as allies with the U.S. in four wars in the 20th century, whose defeat of Mussolini’s forces in 1940 was a turning point in World War II, whose defeat of the communists (1946-49) was their first defeat by arms and a turning point in the Cold War and world history, who is an important partner in the war on terrorism, and who is the strategic key for the United States in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Mr. President, on March 24, 2005, after meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated that, “…the Balkans, a place in which we believe great progress has been made but, of course, there are many challenges yet to meet…we have no better friend in these challenges than our friends in Greece.”

For this to be taken seriously, the United States needs to support a name decision for FYROM that is not offensive to the most important ally we have in the Balkans--Greece.

Gene Rossides

cc: Vice President Richard B. Cheney
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Chief of Staff Andrew Card
Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove
National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley
Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas Burns
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes
Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried
The Congress

For more information about the American Hellenic Institute in Washington, D.C., contact Georgia Economou, Director of Public Relations for AHI, at (202) 785-8430 or at georgia@ahiworld.org, or visit the groups' website at http://www.ahiworld.org. AHI was founded in 1974 following Turkey's illegal invasion and occupation of 37.3% of Cyprus. It is a membership-based organization with members throughout the nation. AHI's core mission is to promote American values and the rule of law in U.S. foreign policy and to strengthen relations between the U.S. and Greece and Cyprus as being in the best interests of the United States. It conducts an active program with Congress in espousing and supporting legislation designed to promote American interests in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean and is registered with the Congress under the Lobbying Act. The AHI Foundation is the first think-tank devoted exclusively to the study of the issues confronting the Greek American community. This organization sponsors conferences, seminars and publishes books and other materials on the issues.

HCS maintains an extensive archives for AHI articles and press releases which visitors may browse under the American Hellenic Institute Releases section of the archives at http://www.helleniccomserve.com/contents.html.

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