The Macedonian Tendency: Macedonia's Friends in the US Congress

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Macedonia's Friends in the US Congress

Macedonia Friendship Group established in U.S. Congress

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Republic of Macedonia has its Friendship Group in the U.S. Congress-Caucus group. At the reception organized by the Macedonian Embassy at Capitol Hill, attended by Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki, Democrat Congressman Bill Pascrell said that the Group would present Macedonia's positions, but also educate the wider U.S. public on the country's cpecifics, including the name dispute with Greece.

"USA needed 15 years to recognize the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia. A total of 170 UN members have accepted this name so far. I hope that other countries will do that too. We are ready to fight for this in order to let everybody know about this fact", said Pascrell.

Republican Congressman Mark Souder emphasized that Macedonia helped the USA during the Kosovo crisis, takes part in the Afghanistan peacekeeping forces, while the Macedonian Government is committed to economic growth and development of democratic values.

"Therefore, Americans should help Macedonia when necessary", he added.

FM Milososki saluted the establishment of the Friendship Group, emphasizing that it is an expression of friendship between the two nations.

Macedonian Ambassador to the USA Zoran Jolevski underlined that the Group's creation comes as a result of long-standing activities and lobbying in the Congress, supported by the Macedonian diaspora.

The Group is to have two co-chairs from the Democrats and Republicans. Eight members have been secured so far, while the number should increase to 25 by the yearend.

Congressman Pascrell stated that the Group would initiate the first meeting in the Congress in two weeks, focused on presentation of Macedonia's positions versus the accusations by Greece's propaganda that Macedonia spreads anti-Greek campaign.

Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki had a meeting Tuesday with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, focused on Macedonia's reform progress towards NATO membership and bilateral relations.

The meeting reaffirmed the US support of Macedonia's accession to NATO, Milososki said.

- We are enjoying the US support in regard to the Adriatic Charter. We have expressed our belief that Macedonia, along with other partner countries, has a capacity to meet all criteria and to become a serious, well-prepared candidate fir NATO membership, ready to accept the invitation next year at the Bucharest Summit, Milososki said.

The US delegation underlined the significance of Macedonia's future results in terms of judicial reforms, combat against corruption and nourishing of the country's good image as multiethnic society and functional democracy.

The Government is ready to do its best and present solid results in all these spheres that will convince NATO members to decide in favor of inviting Macedonia to join NATO at the next summit, he added.

In this respect the US gave credit to Macedonia for its successful organization of the last month Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council Forum in Ohrid, which added to the country's capacity to be part of global events, important to the Alliance.

The US also commended Macedonia's participation in Afghanistan, Iraq peace missions, as well as for its progress in the spheres of economy, creation of favorable investment climate and development of IT society.

The US and Macedonia have identical position on the Kosovo issue. Milososki explained that Macedonia as Kosovo neighbour preferred a settlement of the province's final status than a status-quo situation.

The meeting participants also agreed on the need of encouraging the European Union to offer transparent Euro-perspectives to the entire region and assist in resolving of this last serious matter.

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