By David EdendenNATO seeks solace for Ukraine and Georgia
It appears that the Greek government is going to be successful in vetoing Macedonian membership for Nato. Anyway we look at it, this is a huge setback for Macedonia and the Macedonian people. I expect tough times ahead.
I have to commend President Bush for his steadfast support for Macedonia's position.
It is tempting to say that the government of Macedonia and its lobby could have done a better job. I think that we all could have done better job, but I doubt that it would have made any difference. The structure of Nato is that all of the parliaments of all the Nato countries have had to ratify any new members, giving Greece an absolute veto. I had not realized this before.
In addition, it seems to be politically acceptable, among all the chattering classes in "the West", for Greece, a Nato member, to deny basic human rights to its ethnic Macedonian minority. In all the articles written on the "name issues" over the last 17 years, literally, only a handful have even bothered to mention that Greece was home to a sizable ethnic Macedonian minority.
It cannot be said that Macedonians were stabbed in the back. Nato has stabbed us in the heart, slow motion style, over 17 years, all the while looking into the eyes of our President and Prime Minister. For Nato, Macedonians are the "Niggers of the Balkans" without a name, without a language, without a culture and without a history.
Therefore, I am not surprised at the outcome. What surprised me was the vigor that Macedonian political parties, both of the right and of the left, pursued Nato membership.
My suggestion now, notwithstanding my bombastic headline, is for everyone involved to take a "chill Pill".
Tomorrow is another day.
By Paul Taylor and Matt Spetalnick
BUCHAREST (Reuters) - NATO leaders will seek ways to console Ukraine and Georgia at a summit on Thursday after failing to agree to open the door of the Western military alliance to the former Soviet republics.
The 26 leaders will also face concerns about stability in the Balkans after Greece blocked an invitation to Macedonia to join NATO due to a row over the former Yugoslav republic's name.
The double setback for U.S. President George W. Bush on the first day of his final NATO summit overshadowed agreement to invite two other Balkan countries -- Croatia and Albania -- to join the 26-nation defense alliance, and progress on extra troops for Afghanistan.