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United Macedonians: Name Negotiations with Greece Threatens Macedonia’s Survival

October 6, 2017

Congratulations to Macedonian Human Rights International (MHRMI) on their successful launch of Our Name is Macedonia campaign which includes billboards in Skopje, Bitola, Tetovo and soon in other cities across Macedonia; and will further include advertising on television, radio, newspapers and online. We fully support MHRMI’s call for Macedonia to terminate immediately the name negotiations with Greece.

Article 5 of the 1995 Interim Accord between Macedonia and Greece obliged both parties to continue their negotiations on resolving the name dispute. However, Macedonia is no longer obliged to continue the name negotiations because Greece terminated the Accord with its 2008 veto of Macedonia’s admission into NATO. Former President Crvenkovski said in December 2007, “Greece's eventual veto on Macedonia's admission to NATO would mean a blatant breach of the 1995 interim treaty, consequently, this document would not be in effect for the Republic of Macedonia as well.” Nimetz also said the Greek veto terminated the Accord.

Matthew Nimetz is the UN Secretary-General’s representative in name only. The UN Secretary General has kept his distance from the name negotiations. However, the U.S, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried officially took over for Nimetz as chief mediator of a meeting with Milososki and Bakoyannis on March 21, 2008 in Brussels to guide both parties toward an agreement before the start of the NATO summit in Bucharest on April 2, 2008. The U.S. is deeply engaged in and influencing the outcome of the name negotiations.

The current Macedonian government led by Zoran Zaev and SDSM plans to pursue changing Macedonia’s name. It is interesting to repeat the words of former President Branko Crvenkovski, himself also a former president of SDSM, in an interview with Alsat-M TV, “If we need to make an ultimate choice - NATO membership or change of country's name - we will stand behind the name.”

Ambassador Robin O'Neil, the first mediator in the name issue said, “Macedonia must not and will not change its name in order to appease Greece. If Macedonia succumbs to pressures and changes its name, such events will only give more firepower to Greece until it reaches its final goal – Macedonia to vanish from the map.”

The name negotiations must be terminated immediately. Below is a list of proposed changes to Macedonia’s name along with a partial chronology. The longer these bizarre negotiations continue, the greater the risk to Macedonia’s survival.

Mendo Bakalovski, President