April 1, 2008
Greece’s Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis announced today that Greece would veto the US’s continued membership of NATO unless the US changed its name to ‘United States of Central North America’. ‘Greece is nothing if not consistent’, Ms Bakoyannis said at a press conference today, ‘Just as we object to FYROM [the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia] being the sole claimant to the name of the entire area of Macedonia, so we object to FBCOA [the Former British Colony of America] claiming sole use of the name of “America”.’ She pointed out that the territory of the FBCOA covers less than half of the continent of North America, which in turn is only one of two American continents: ‘We are concerned that the FBCOA’s use of the name “America” implies territorial claims on neighbouring states.’
My Bakoyannis added: ‘The leaders of this new country of 300 million insist on calling their homeland “America” even though that is a name that has been part of Native American history and culture for thousands of years.’ She then asked rhetorically, ‘Was Pocahontas an Anglo-Saxon ?’
UN mediators have been struggling to find a solution to the ‘name dispute’ acceptable to both sides, one that would allow the US to remain in NATO. UN envoy Matthew Nimetz has tabled several proposals, including ‘Democratic United States of America’, ‘New United States of America’ and ‘United States of America (Washington D.C.)’, but these have all been rejected by Athens.
President George W. Bush has accepted that at this week’s NATO summit in Bucharest, the US may have its membership of the alliance terminated at Greece’s demand. ‘We shall continue to seek a negotiated solution to this question’, President Bush said today.
Ms Bakoyannis has indicated that Athens is considering asking the United Kingdom to change its name as well, pointing out that ‘Britain’ is the name of a neighbouring French administrative region. There has been speculation that Greece may insist that the UK be renamed ‘United Kingdom of Northern Britain and Northern Ireland’ if it wishes to remain in NATO, although Athens has yet to issue a formal demand.
(Greater Surbiton News Service)