By David Edenden
This testimony by Nicholas Burns is good news about the Bush administrations continued support for Macedonia, especially for its' Nato membership being unrelated to the "name issue".
Now for those who are faithful readers of this blog, you know I am a Nato skeptic, so I hope thing work out for the best.
I just hope Macedonia has a "plan B" if Greece does use its veto. My plan ... have Putin on speed dial.
U.S.-Greece Relations and Regional Issues:
R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Testimony on U.S.-Greek Relations Before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe
November 14, 2007
In the same vein, the United States and Greece share an interest in a prosperous Macedonia, one that is stable economically, politically and militarily. Macedonia has made great strides in these areas and has participated in NATO’s Membership Action Plan for a number of years. This does not mean that Macedonia is guaranteed an invitation to join NATO at the Bucharest Summit this April. Our firm view is that Macedonia should be judged strictly on its merits, specifically whether it has met NATO’s performance based standards.
Macedonia should not be denied an invitation to NATO for any reason other than failure to meet the substantive qualifications for entry. In Greece, some have raised the possibility of vetoing an invitation to Macedonia unless the “name issue” is resolved. While the United States agrees on the importance of resolving the name issue, we do not think that disagreement on the name alone is reason to block Macedonia’s membership in international organizations.
At the same time, the name “Macedonia” is close to the heart of Greek citizens and is central and significant to the history of Greece itself. The United States is firmly committed to the UN process led by Ambassador Matt Nimetz to resolve this issue – as well as adherence to the 1995 Interim Accord, which allows Macedonia to enter regional and international organizations under the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. We believe our NATO ally Greece and Macedonia are fully capable of working quietly, constructively and directly with each other and within the UN framework to reach a solution. We ask that the Macedonian government make a special effort to work with the Greek government to find a solution with which both countries can live. We ask for a spirit of compromise on both sides. The United States cannot impose a solution on either side. Finding a solution acceptable by both countries is something they need to do themselves.
It often takes considerable time for countries to join NATO. Spain didn’t join until 23 years after NATO was created. It took the Baltic countries 11 years to join after their independence. But in every instance of a new member joining NATO, enlargement has benefited the Alliance and advanced peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area. I think we all agree it is in everyone’s interest to see Macedonia become a stable and cooperative neighbor of Greece and part of the NATO alliance.