US Official Says American Diplomacy Solved Greece-FYROM Name Feud

FILE - US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Aaron Wess Mitchell, during a joint press conference with Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci, at Pristina international airport on March 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

The deal’s not ratified yet, but a top American official said the United States was behind pushing Greece to reach an agreement changing the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and get the country into NATO.

The US backed the a settlement between Greece and FYROM as part of a campaign to stymie Russian interests in the Balkans, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell said.

“We have placed particular emphasis on bolstering the states of frontline Europe that are most susceptible to Russian geopolitical pressure,” Mitchell told a Senate foreign relations committee hearing on Aug. 21.

Under the deal, FYROM will be called North Macedonia but its citizens allowed to call themselves Macedonians and with a Macedonian language and identity, conceded by the anti-nationalist Radical Left SYRIZA of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

That was done to end a 27-year name feud that began when a New Democracy government allowed the new country emerging from the collapse of Yugoslavia to take the name of Macedonia, an abutting ancient Greek province, in what was supposed to be a temporary acronym.

But after successive FYROM governments began claiming Greek lands, including the real Macedonia and second-largest city and major port of Thessaloniki, Greece used a veto to keep its neighbor out of NATO and from beginning European Union accession talks.

United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz, an American lawyer who had failed for two decades to find a solution, helped broker the new deal to get FYROM into NATO, which Russian diplomats in Greece tried to foil, the government said in expelling two of them.

Mitchell said that, “In the Balkans, American diplomacy has played a lead role in resolving the Greece-Macedonia name dispute,” referring to FYROM as Macedonia and not North Macedonia, perpetuating the problem Greece has faced with more than 140 countries calling FYROM as Macedonia too.

The deal has been approved twice by FYROM’s Parliament, the second time because the country’s President, Gjorge Ivanov, who opposes it, refused to sign. With the second okay he must sign under the law and then a referendum will be held on Sept. 30.

If ratified, it will go to the Greek Parliament, likely either later in the autumn or early in 2019 but Tsipras, seeing 62-68 percent of Greeks opposed – along with his own junior coalition partner, the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) – has barred a referendum.

1 Comment

  1. What do you not understand…. the United States is run by white Supremacist ideological demented fascist!

    While …. they condemn Russia for false charges of meddling in the affairs of the United States…and have evoked economic and military warfare with Nuclear Power Russia ….they confess that they have been the driving force in despicably turning over the culture of Macedonian Greeks to ….another future base of the United States and Nato ….FYROM! And spit in the face of the Greek people …who overwhelmingly opposed this act of treason!

    As a Greek American… it is clear, by watching the degenerates in our government…. at war with the elected president of the United States ….who they know was elected to remove them from power by the people of America…who 78% consider them corrupt thru and thru!

    The war by the swamp or deep state….to retain their power to execute the directives of their corporate owners …the billionaires club….are the same ones…. who have diplomatically, demonstrated to Greeks…who runs their country now…thanks to Mr. Tsipras surrendering all the soveriengty of Greece….to remain in power!

    These demented individuals…..actually believe they are the saviors of the world and represent a society of white supremacist…who can prosecute and accuse other countries of crimes, which they do everyday……but believe it is all justified …because they are a superior race…just like another lunatic…Adolph Hitler!

    As a Greek American ….i will not have them put my name on their crimes…and will not be the “Good German” who remains silent!

    Get out of Nato and the EU….or be enslaved forever!

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