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New York Times: Greece preoccupied with crisis to devote to Macedonia issue

28. April 2012. | 13:34

Source: MIA

NATO enlargement is not on the agenda of the forthcoming summit in Chicago, while Greece is preoccupied with its economic crisis in order Macedonia's request of obtaining a membership invitation at the May summit to be fulfilled, The New York Times reports.

NATO enlargement is not on the agenda of the forthcoming summit in Chicago, while Greece is preoccupied with its economic crisis in order Macedonia's request of obtaining a membership invitation at the May summit to be fulfilled, The New York Times reports.

"There are few indications of movement on the issue, however. Greece is in the midst of a financial crisis, hoping to avoid becoming the first member nation of the European economic zone to default. In such an environment, there is little incentive within the Greek political system to resolve an international dispute over its neighbor," says in his article Thom Shakner - a correspondent of The New York Times on issues related to the Balkans and security policy.

Shakner writes that meetings at the NATO summit will focus on the future of the alliance war effort in Afghanistan, mostly how to end it, and ways to reshape member militaries around a concept called "smart defense", while the ascent of new members is not even on the agenda.

The journalist presents Macedonia's arguments for NATO membership outlined by Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki who is visiting the United States.

"We are an exporter of security forces to NATO. But we are in the waiting room for membership," FM Poposki told The New York Times.

The New York Times says that on a per-capita basis, Macedonia is the fifth-largest contributor of forces to the NATO mission in Afghanistan, providing about 175 people responsible for providing security around the NATO headquarters in Kabul and across the Afghan capital’s diplomatic zone, which includes the American Embassy. Macedonian troops also are training Afghan security forces. The effort eats up about 10 percent of the republic’s defense budget. Macedonia previously contributed about 500 troops to the American-led effort in Iraq.

Macedonian troops will remain in Afghanistan until the formal end of the NATO mission - December 2014 - and that there is no pressure in Parliament for an early withdrawal, as there is in some member nations. It is stressed that Greece has been a member of NATO since 1952 and keeps on objecting Macedonia's accession.


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29. April 2012. 07:03:46

| Ime


FYROM has been given an open inventation to join NATO and is not nessasary to wait for a summit to be admited. Solve the name issue and they're in. They have been stalling on this issue for 20 years now and if they are accepted in NATO/EU before the name issue is resolved, they will then have absolutly no intention on solving the name dispute.

29. April 2012. 07:03:46

| Ime


The reporter's arguments are illogical and red herrings. Of what relevance does FYROM's participation in Afghanistan have to do with FYROM ultra nationalist extremists undermining the security of Nato member Greece?

The evasiveness and selective reporting of the fact by FYROM apologists speaks volumes about their prejudices. That would include the New York Time editorial board. Why does it pretend they don't notice FYROM's change into "ancient Macedonians" and "United Macedonia" irrredentist language? And why do they dishonestly pretend to not know the US government itself used to claim no such ethnicity exists. (a result largely of Yugoslav communist demagoguery that erased the Bulgarian context of their "Macedonian" identity)

"This (US) Government considers talk of Macedonian "nation", Macedonian "Fatherland", or Macedonia "national consciousness" to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece" - US State Department Dec, 1944 (Foreign Relations Vol. VIII Washington D.C. Circular Airgram - 868.014/26)

29. April 2012. 18:05:19

| Peter


Why todays Greece accepted the ancient name of the Hellens?
Ancient Hellens are none existant in the mix of todays population.
Hellenic history stoped to exist from 338 Bc at the battle of Chaeronea between the City States and Macedonia.
The so called Greek nation is nothing than a mixture of different minorities of the Balkans with the majority being Albanians,Turks,Indigenouse Macedonians,Vlahs and Roma.

30. April 2012. 06:48:35

| Ime


NATO was set up to allow member states to defend themselves against external threat.

Skopje as an outsider is seeking to enter the NATO alliance.

Surely it should establish good relations with its neighbours and existing NATO members before seeking membership.

It is obvious that Skopje, with its mix of Slavs, Albanians, Turks, Roma and Greeks, is seeking to antagonise its southern neighbour Greece by claiming it is the sole inheritor of ancient Macedonia. Such moves in the unstable Balkans are not conducive to peace in the region.

The sad thing is that Skopje has an opportunity to grow its economy and actually establish a solid friendship with Greece, which would result in tourism, economic investment and collaboration in many fields.

The people of Skopje need economic development and jobs, they don't need a new history.

There's little point in Skopje lobbying the United States, Turkey, the UK and Germany to facilitate its entry into NATO and the EU. This will never happen unless Skopje establishes good relations with its neighbours and stops questioning the borders of an existing NATO member state.

Personally, I think Skopje (as well as Serbia) have great economic potential. But surely antagonising Greece isn't going to help its progress. I am confident that the able Skopje leadership with come up with a formula that will please all its neighbours and allow Greeks and Skopjans to focus on creating jobs instead of worrying about their territorial integrity.

Many nations have claimed Thessaloniki as their city. They failed to realise their dreams. But in this day and age, it is a bit provocative for Skopje to claim 'Solun' and half of northern Greece as its own territory. It simply upsets and angers the inhabitants of northern Greece.

Skopje's leadership should cease provoking Greece, stop naming every street after Alexander the Great, stop spending millions of euros on statues of Alexander, and start building confidence with a neighbour that could be a very good friend and a very good trading partner.


28. May - 03. June 2012.