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AHI Responds to Correct the Record on FYROM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Georgea Polizos
April 13, 2016—No. 16 (202) 785-8430

AHI Responds to Correct the Record on FYROM

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) released a letter to the editor it submitted to The Washington Times recently. The letter was a response to a March 20, 2016 op-ed titled, “Why a Stable Macedonia Matters” by Jason Katz. 

In his letter, AHI President Nick Larigakis rebuts the author’s claim that Greece impedes FYROM’s path toward stability and prosperity.  Instead, Larigakis points out Greece has been one of the largest sources of foreign investment in FYROM in recent years.  Larigakis also rebuts Katz’s position that former Prime Minister Gruevski has “sought alignment with the West,” arguing that Gruevski’slong-term policy of extreme nationalism and provocation against Greece is in conflict with Euro-Atlantic values and in breach of the UN-brokered Interim Accord.  

“Despite FYROM’s provocations, Greece has compromised greatly to find a solution to the name-recognition issue in the effort to stabilize the Balkans and promote Euro-Atlantic standards,” Larigakis writes. “Greece has proposed ‘a compound name for the country; a name that will distinguish it from both the Greek and Bulgarian part.’ Greece has acted in the best interests of the United States.”

Finally, Larigakis adds that Greece, under extreme economic duress, continues to bear the burden of the refugee crisis that has only been exacerbated by FYROM’s border closures.

The letters to the editor can be found in their entirety below.

The American Hellenic Institute is 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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For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or atpr@ahiworld.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org and follow us on Twitter @TheAHIinDC.

 


Dear Editor:

Jason Katz’s op-ed “Why a Stable Macedonia Matters” (Mar. 20) is erroneous.  Katz writes “the way forward to stability and prosperity (for FYROM) is impeded by Greece.” This statement is false. As recently as 2012, Greece was the biggest source of foreign investment in FYROM at 12.3 million euros.

Furthermore, Katz’s insistence that former Prime Minister Gruevski “sought alignment with the West” neglects to mention his long-term policy of extreme nationalism and provocation against Greece.  It’s a policy in conflict with Euro-Atlantic values and in breach of the UN-brokered Interim Accord.  Gruevski has been pictured publically with a map of his country that includes the Greek province of Macedonia and Mount Olympus as one united political entity.  Inflammatory acts such as this one erode efforts to build trust and good neighborly relations.  Despite FYROM’s provocations, Greece has compromised greatly to find a solution to the name-recognition issue in the effort to stabilize the Balkans and promote Euro-Atlantic standards.  Greece has proposed “a compound name for the country; a name that will distinguish it from both the Greek and Bulgarian part.” Greece has acted in the best interests of the United States.

Finally, Katz could do well to remember that Greece, under extreme economic duress, continues to bear the burden of the refugee crisis that has only been exacerbated by FYROM’s border closures. Migrants seeking access to Europe were attacked by FYROM border guards and police at the direction of Skopje to the criticism of human rights groups and EU leadership.  FYROM has a long way to go before it can be considered a good candidate for Euro-Atlantic integration.

Nick Larigakis 
President
American Hellenic Institute
Washington, DC