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MHRMC Condemns Statements by Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos
During Visit to Belgium


February 5, 2005


Press Release

The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada (MHRMC) condemns the statements made by the President of Greece, Kostis Stephanopoulos, regarding the Republic of Macedonia during his recent visit to Belgium. (see full story below)

The President was quoted as saying that "FYROM (Macedonia) threatens Greece culturally and nationally with its theories of a wider Macedonia, part of which allegedly belongs to FYROM while another part belongs unjustifiably and illegally to Greece".

Mr. Stephanopoulos went on to reiterate Greece’s position that it rejects a name for “FYROM which does not belong to it, a name that is purely Greek.”

Mr. Stephanopoulos's unfounded claims are aimed at disguising the real reasons that Greece is opposed to the recognition of the Republic of Macedonia. Greece fears that if the Republic of Macedonia is recognized under its constitutional name, this will undermine Greece’s long-standing position that Macedonians do not exist anywhere and especially not in Greece. Greece particularly fears that recognition of the Republic of Macedonia will force Greece to recognize its own large ethnic Macedonian minority and thus make it accountable for its ongoing human rights abuses against Greek citizens of Macedonian ethnicity.

The MHRMC calls on the international community, and European institutions in particular, to condemn Mr. Stephanopoulos's remarks and to take a stand for the most basic of European values: dignity, respect for diversity, and a recognition that the individual cannot be repressed by the state in which he resides within a free and democratic Europe.

Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Address: 157 Adelaide St. West, Suite 434, Toronto, Canada M5H 4E7
Tel: 416-850-7125 Fax: 416-850-7127
E-mail: info@mhrmi.org Website: http://www.mhrmi.org/

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STEPHANOPOULOS ON THE GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS AND FYROM
Brussels, 3 February 2005 (14:26 UTC+2)
http://www.mpa.gr/article.html?doc_id=508697

President Kostis Stephanopoulos met with members of the Greek community in Belgium within the framework of his visit to the country.

The representatives of the Greek community offered a miner's lamp to Mr. Stephanopoulos in honor of the first Greek immigrants who worked under difficult circumstances in the mines.

Speaking in the Greek Orthodox Church in Brussels, Mr. Stephanopoulos referred to the issues of Greek national interest. He said that the International Court in The Hague can settle the disputes between nations without war threats or movements of fleets or aircraft, adding that Greece and Turkey could solve their differences in The Hague.

He made a special reference to the FYROM issue pointing out that FYROM threatens Greece culturally and nationally with its theories of a wider Macedonia part of which allegedly belongs to FYROM while another part belongs unjustifiably and illegally to Greece.

Mr. Stephanopoulos said that all of these justify Greece's decision to reject a name for FYROM that does not belong to it, a name that is purely Greek.

Referring to Karolos Papoulias, the next Greek President, he stressed that he is a politician with ethos, experience and also, a patriot.

     
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