Bill Nicholov’s commentary “When Greece and Hillary Clinton tried to erase Macedonia” is rife with historical fallacies and comes across sounding more like a baseless, erroneous rant without the support of facts.
Nicholov first states, “It was revealed by Wikileaks that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE’s campaign chair, John Podesta, made disparaging remarks about Macedonia, with no repercussions.”
This is inaccurate.
Podesta merely stated that he continued to refer to Macedonia as FYROM which is in line with the U.N.-brokered Interim Accord, signed by the FYROM and Greece, in which both parties agreed to use the name FYROM until a mutually agreeable solution is found.
Additionally, as stated in the interim accord, Greece “reserves the right to object to any membership (in international organizations) if and to the extent (FYROM) is to be referred to in such organization or institution differently than in paragraph 2 of United Nations Security Council resolution 817 (1993).”
If the term “FYROM” is indeed considered to be so offensive, Nicholov might want to take that up with the United Nations Security Council.
Furthermore, Nicholov claims Secretary Clinton “executed an anti-Macedonian policy.” Nothing about Secretary Clinton’s statements indicates this to be true. Rather, on her July 17, 2011 visit to Athens, Secretary Clinton stated the following:
“We have made it very clear that we support the negotiations that have gone on between Skopje and Athens. We think that there is an opportunity here. And the government in Skopje needs to know that it will not be able to move forward on its European integration until it does resolve this. And, obviously, Greece has to be willing to accept how the name is resolved.”
There is nothing partisan in Secretary Clinton’s statement; as a matter of fact, it is in support of the ongoing UN-brokered negotiating process which the United States supports.
Nicholov then writes that Greece initiated an “artificial name dispute” in attempts to eradicate the existence of FYROM. Not only is this false but he also neglects to mention the continued efforts on the part of Greece to support their northern neighbor despite the unresolved dispute. For example, as recently as 2013, and during its economic crisis, Greece remained the biggest source of foreign investment in FYROM and currently invests 576 million euros, putting it third among countries as a source of foreign direct investment, according to the IMF.
Nicholov would do well to remember that under former Prime Minister Gruevski’s administration, FYROM continued to pursue a policy of extreme nationalism and provocation against Greece. He has been pictured in public with a map of his country that includes the Greek province of Macedonia and Mount Olympus as one united political entity. These acts, among many others, are a breach of the Interim Accord, distract from genuine efforts to build trust and neighborly relations, and do not embrace Euro-Atlantic values.
Despite these provocations, Greece has and continues to compromise greatly, proposing “a compound name for the country; a name that will distinguish it from both the Greek and Bulgarian part.” This would help stabilize the Balkans and promote Euro-Atlantic norms.
Nicholov is truly concerned about FYROM’s Euro-Atlantic hopes, he may want to review the facts in order to better defend Skopje’s future prospects.
Polizos is the legislative director at the American Hellenic Institute, a non-profit Greek American public policy center and think tank that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.
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