Obama Urged to End “Silliness” over FYROMacedonia Name

Obama Urged to End “Silliness” over FYROMacedonia Name

Skopje | 22 May 2009 |

Barack Obama

Greek lobbyists have written to President Barack Obama claiming the United States has no business supporting “Macedonia’s “subversion of history” and should now withdraw its support for the formal name of the fledgling Balkan state.  

The letter, signed by around 200 lecturers of Graeco-Roman Antiquity from 11 countries, is a result of extensive lobbying by the Greek diaspora, local news agency Makfax said on Friday.

The document was sent earlier this week and has now been posted on the website Macedonia Evidence. Its authors urge President Obama to reverse the policy of predecessor George W Bush, whose administration unilaterally recognized “” Macedonia’s” formal name in 2004.

FYROMacedonia is currently embroiled in a long-lasting row with Greece over rights to the name, which is shared with a northerly Greek province. Greece has claimed that, by using the name, its young neighbour is assuming territorial rights over its own lands.

“We call upon you, Mr. President, to help – in whatever ways you deem appropriate – the government in Skopje to understand that it cannot build a national identity at the expense of historic truth,” the authors state.

“We believe that this silliness has gone too far, and that the USA has no business supporting the subversion of history.”

The authors conclude by asking the President to clean up the “debris” left by the previous administration.

The name row escalated last year after Athens blocked Skopje’s NATO accession, and UN-brokered mediation has so far been unsuccessful. Observers see the US administration as a crucial catalyst for pushing the talks forward.

Macedonia’s name has so far been recognized by over two thirds of the UN member countries, including US, Russia and China. However the provisional reference, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM, is still in official use in the UN at Greek insistence.

(Reporting By Sinisa-Jakov Marusic)

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