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US stunned Greece with the use of the Republic of Macedonia

29 September 2015 / 15:09:26  GRReporter
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The dispute over the name of the Republic of Macedonia continues to embitter Greek-American relations. According to foreign diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, the United States had directly refused to accept the request of Athens for the Republic of Macedonia to participate under the name FYROM (that is recognized by the United Nations) in the meeting dedicated to the fight against extremism, which is being held within the context of the 70th jubilee session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, on Tuesday, 29 September. The United States insisted on addressing the invitation to the Republic of Macedonia, the name recognized by it back in 2004, despite the protests on the part of Greece that the meeting is held within the United Nations.
This is the second such case within less than a year, which is a big problem for the Greek Foreign Ministry but also for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself, who will meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry in New York on Wednesday, 30 September. And all this at a time when the Greek government is trying to show its "new relations" with the United States.

There was a similar case in December 2014, during the summit of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, when the United States called a meeting of the countries involved in the coalition against the Islamic State. The problem emerged because Skopje participated in the meeting under the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on one hand but the United States demanded that the country be included under the name Republic of Macedonia in the list of countries in the general statement. Former Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos sent John Kerry a letter of protest and decided not to participate in the meeting.

The same diplomatic sources indicate that in both cases the resistance to the Greek demands came from Victoria Nuland. The Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs who has been very well aware of the Macedonia naming issue since her previous post as a permanent US representative to NATO under President George Bush, Jr., seems to have been very insistent both in December 2014 and in the last case. They say that John Kerry was more willing to compromise, but ultimately he did not consider the issue so important as to insist on it.

Moreover, Victoria Nuland was very direct with Greek Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos in Washington, when he visited her in her office a few days ago in order to find a solution to satisfy both parties.
The issue is further complicated by the fact that indeed Greece is invited to the meeting on 29 September, but as an observer, because it did not participate in last year's meeting and it has no problems with extremism (e.g. foreign fighters). This means that the country has no right to take the floor and therefore has no right to protest. In any case, however, it has remained unclear whether someone will represent Greece at the meeting and who, since the idea of ​​Prime Minister Tsipras attending it has been rejected.

In a communication on occasion of the meeting on combating extremism, the Greek Foreign Ministry states "it will be an opportunity for further coordination of the actions of the international community and all NATO states to effectively fight against the Islamic State, which will help solve the Syrian problem and stabilize the region."

Tags: USARepublic of MacedoniaSkopjeДisputeGreek Foreign MinistryUN
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