The Macedonian Tendency: Go Back to Bucharest!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Go Back to Bucharest!

By David Edenden

It is too bad that the Macedonia delegation walked out of the Nato summit to protest Greece's veto of Macedonia's Nato membership. We cannot pick up our marbles and go home, because we have no marbles to play with in the first place!

Today is the first day of the Macedonia's new lobbying effort and it was a prime opportunity for the Macedonian leadership to lobby the heads of state, especially those that, surprisingly, took a pro- Greek position.

All Macedonian political parties should come together, in an informal united front, with leaders of the Macedonian Orthodox Church and leading intellectuals to develop a longterm plan. Lets all agree that MANU take the lead to help develop a consensus.

Here are my ideas! (in no particular order)

1. Stay in Iraq and Afganistan.

Macedonia's contribution to the war on terror is a major element of the pro-Macedonian position that many Republicans, such as Bush, Rice, Powell, and Eagleburger, have taken. McCain's position is unknown, but I would suggest that he would be sympathetic, based on Macedonia's contribution to the US military effort on the war on terror. If the pro- Greek Obama wins the US presidency, then Macedonia can withdraw its troops. If McCain can make a campaign issue of Obama's support of Greek racism against its ethnic Macedonian minority, then we will be in a better position.

2. Work with the US and other Macedonian allies in Nato.

Get funding for "The Joint History Project" and other projects that focus the spotlight on the Macedonian minority in Greece. The British are funding Albanian language classes for the Muslim Goranci in Kosovo, a Macedonian speaking Slavic people. Get the UK or US to help fund Macedonian language classes for the ethnic Macedonian minority in Greece. Discuss this issue with Bernard Kouchner, Foreign Minister of France. When he rejects it , because of the pro-Greek Sarkozy, then publish it. Force these guys to take a public position on Greek racism.

Ask Bush to de-classify US government contacts with representatives of ethnic Macedonians in Greece. Get former US diplomats to write a history of these contacts.

3. De-fang the "nest of vampires"!

Ask Bush to have Radio Free Europe, The International Crisis Group, The National Democratic Institute and other groups that I have, in the past labeled "a nest of vampires" to put the spotlight the plight of ethnic Macedonians in Greece.

Work with the Bush administration to see if this issue should be taken to the UN with new terms of reference for the name issue to include the rights of ethnic Macedonians in Greece.

4. More effort should be place on working with the European Free Alliance to put the rights on Macedonians in Greece before the EU parliament.

5. Telling truth to Power

The main stream media are very powerful in shaping the discussion on the "name issue". Macedonian President Crvenkovski should spend most of his time, for the next year, traveling outside Macedonia spearheading the lobby.effort He should start with meetings with Reuters, AP, the BBC, New York Times, Washington Post etc to insist that whenever the Greek concerns about Macedonia are mention (as boilerplate) such as:

Mr. Bush, addressing his NATO colleagues, praised the decision to welcome Croatia and Albania as new members, but expressed regret that Macedonia was rebuffed. Other NATO members voted against Macedonia in sympathy with Greece’s objections over Macedonia’s name, which Greek leaders argue implies territorial ambitions on the northern part of their country, also called Macedonia. New York Times, April 4, 2008
Then Macedonian concerns about Greece should also be mentioned. this is a major failing of the Macedonian lobbying effort.

The Greek civil war saw subversive attacks launched from Macedonian soil, and ended with tens of thousands of ethnic Macedonians fleeing their homes. Those Macedonians who stayed behind, like other minorities in Greece, still lack fundamental rights. Property issues have never been fully resolved. Edward P. Joseph, International Herald Tribune March 31, 2008.

6. Get Richard Gere on our side!

This is just to get the ball rolling. Think about national unity. Don't play the blame game.
Macedonia Walks Out Of NATO Summit -
03 April 2008 Bucharest
Macedonia boycotted further sessions of NATO’s Bucharest Summit, after Greece blocked its bid to join the alliance.
“We feel a need to be with our people out of which more than 90 % wanted and wants to be a part of NATO,” Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki told media, as he announced Macedonia was pulling out of the Summit.

“Macedonia was punished not for what we did but for who we are” he added.

“We are Macedonians and always will be Macedonians.”

“The risks of any future destabilisation of the region will be the direct responsibility of Greece,” Milososki said, however reassuring that Skopje will continue to do all it can to keep the peace in the region, especially regarding Kosovo and Serbia.

The move came after NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, announced Macedonia’s bid to receive an invitation to join the alliance was unsuccessful.

Croatia and Albania however got the green light.

Macedonia's bid stumbled because of Greece’s opposition to Skopje’s bid despite all the other 25 member countries agreeing Macedonia had met all of NATO’s requirements.

Greece had been threatening to veto the invitation if Skopje does not change its country’s name.

Athens opposes to Skopje’s constitutional name “Republic of Macedonia” arguing that it might lead Skopje to make territorial claims over its own northern province which is also called Macedonia.

Previously, in a sign of protest, Macedonian journalists walked out of a press conference with de Hoop Scheffer when they heard Skopje’s membership bid had been blocked.

He said that the country will get the invitation for joining as soon as the “name” row is resolved.

“These are difficult times for our small nation,” Milososki said, thanking United States President George Bush for his support and efforts to solve the question “up to the last minute.”

The long running “name” dispute talks under United Nations mediation intensified after it became clear that Greece was resolved to veto its smaller neighbour’s membership bid.

Previously, there were hopes among the Macedonian public that Bush would succeed in softening the Greek stance at the Summit.

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