Intense Mobility of Pan-Macedonian Association USA

The leadership of the Pan-Macedonian Association met with Minister of Macedonia-Thrace, Mr. Nicholas Tsiartsionis and the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr. Vasilios Papageorgopoulos during the "HERMES EXPO" in Atlantic City over the weekend April 16-18, 2005. The representatives of the Greek State discussed with the Macedonian leaders the position of the Greek government to the Nimitz proposal of the name issue of the FYROM; in turn the Pan-Macedonian leadership reiterated its unwavering position on this issue and they informed the Greek officials of their recent contacts with American government and legislative officials on Capitol Hill.

In a letter sent to the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Karolos Papoulias, the Pan-Macedonian Association, asks to be represented in the Council of Party Leaders meeting that will examine the critical national issue of the final name of the FYROM. In the letter it is reported inter alias "The tireless struggles of sixty years of our Association as well as the struggles of other Pan-Macedonian Organizations of the Diaspora, allow us to ask your Excellency with all due respect and high sense of responsibility to invite the President of the Pan-Macedonian Association USA to participate in the meeting of the Council of political leaders; we consider it unthinkable if - in the very least - the voice of the Macedonians of the Diaspora is not allowed to be heard during this historic Council meeting."

The members of the Pan-Macedonian Association have been intensely mobilized in the last ten days or so. On April 12, 2005, the Leadership of the Organization delivered forty thousands (40,000) signed petitions by the Greek-American and Philhellenic communities to Undersecretary, Nicholas Burns. The petitions stating the opposition to the policy reversal of the American government regarding the FYROM name issue were collected jointly by the Greek Orthodox Church of America, SAE, AHEPA and other organizations of the Hellenic Community. The leadership of the Pan-Macedonian Association also had the occasion to convey to Secretary Burns its profound disappointment and opposition to the US policy reversal that it considers, "undemocratic, historically false, and thus unsuited for the US as The moral Leader of freedom and justice of the free world."

During a conference in Washington DC, distinguished personalities of US, academicians and experts lectured about the developments and repercussions that the recognition of the FYROM by the American government bore as "Republic of Macedonia" with the theme: The Need for Reassessment of U.S. Policy in the Balkans. The conference took place on 14 April, right on Capital Hill and was jointly sponsored by the Pan-Macedonian Association in collaboration with the American Hellenic Institute.

Dr. Nikolaos Zahariadis from the University of Alabama in Birmingham presented a paper on the Recent Developments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Gregory Copley, President and editor-in-Chief of the magazine "Defense and Foreign Affairs", analyzed the theme of U.S. Policy in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean: Stop Choosing Sides; Start Choosing Strategic Interest and known Academician, Dr. Evangelos Coufoudakis examined the Sources of Balkan Instability. Mr. Nikolaos Larigakis, Director of AHI, presented the paper of Mr. Eugene Rossidis, President of AHI who was attending the funeral services of former Hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, Archbishop Iakovos. Mr. Rossidis' paper bore the title: The U.S. Failure to Understand Balkan History. Numerous political figures of Congress attended the conference and pledged their support to the efforts of Pan-Macedonian Association. Among others present were, Congressman Mike Bilirakis, Frank Pallone, John Schartz, John Coniards, Donald Payne and Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Subsequently, members of Pan-Macedonian Association visited Senators and Congressmen of their districts and informed them about the Association's position on the FYROM's name. A committee constituted by the leadership and members of the Pan-Macedonian Association had a meeting in the State Department with Mr. Joseph A. Parente, Greece Desk Officer, which lasted 90 minutes; they extensively analyzed their position regarding the final name of the FYROM.

"The Pan-Macedonian Association will continue its efforts of briefing the American government officials regarding the Association's position on the name issue and historical truth," declared Mr. Proios, the President of the Association. "Our convictions are irrevocable and no one can influence us, or speak on our behalf". Mr. Proios also referred to the inauspicious statement to the Greek Press by the President of World SAE, Mr. Andrew Athens, that all Diaspora, including the Pan-Macedonian Associations will support any decisions of the Greek government.

"The Pan-Macedonian Association of USA does not accept commands and guidance from Athens, Washington or Brussels" declared Supreme Secretary, Mr. Panos. Spiliakos. "It stands fast on its position which is based on historical truths and our unadulterated cultural heritage". It is pointed out that al major Greek-American Organizations and especially the Hellenic American National Council, SAE and AHEPA have yielded to the Pan-Macedonian Association to lead the struggle of the name issue until its just and successful conclusion.