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Op-Ed by AHI President Published in The National Herald
November 12, 2004—No.71 (202) 785-8430

Op-Ed by AHI President Published in The National Herald

Washington, DC—The following Op-Ed article by AHI President Gene Rossides appeared in The National Herald on November 12, 2004, page 11.

State Department Policy Regarding Greece- A Continuing Disaster
By Gene Rossides

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman, is and has been the main architect of U.S. policy on Greece, Cyprus and Turkey these past years. His policies towards Greece, Cyprus and Turkey demonstrate a sharp anti-Greece and Cyprus bias and a pro-Turkish bias, all to the detriment of U.S. interests.

It is important to understand how the policy process operates at the State Department. On secondary and third level issues the point person is the senior career official and that person is Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman. He approves all policies on such issues and can initiate policies on such issues, which then go to the Secretary of State.


The latest harmful Grossman policy is the betrayal of Greece by the State Department's unilateral decision to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as the Republic of Macedonia. The U.S. policy had been that we would use the name FYROM until Greece and FYROM, by negotiations, determined a solution to the name issue. We broke our pledge.

The UN and the European Union (EU) were also part of the diplomacy which called for negotiations between Greece and FYROM on the name issue. They have kept their pledges.

The reason provided to AHI by the State Department and by the State Department Spokesperson Ambassador Richard Boucher in a lengthy exchange with reporters on November 4, 2004, is that this decision was made for the purpose of providing "stability" in "Macedonia" regarding the November 7, 2004 referendum on the law giving the ethnic Albanian minority greater local autonomy.

On November 7, the law was easily upheld with its opponents getting only twenty five percent of the vote. The EU, a key economic supporter of FYROM, had openly supported the law. There was no U.S. need to intervene in the internal affairs of FYROM. AHI disagreed strongly with States’ position. On the contrary, it should have been clear that recognition would not help stability in the region and would be counter-productive.

Consideration was not given to the impact on FYROM’s neighbors, especially Greece, by this decision. Incredibly Spokesperson Boucher, during his press briefing stated that the U.S. did not have any consultations with FYROM’s neighbors prior to recognition.

If the United States is interested in promoting peace, democracy, stability and economic progress in the Balkans, our main ally in the region in promoting these goals is and has been Greece. However, the U.S. act of recognition will have a harmful impact on Greece and on our relations with Greece, our long-time loyal and NATO ally, EU member and a member of the United Nations Security Council for 2005-2006.

In a letter to President Bush on November 5, 2004, I wrote:

"We find incomprehensible the advice from the State Department to you, which, in effect, equates the FYROM, a nation of only 13 years, of little, if any, strategic, economic or political value to the United States, with Greece, a long-time important strategic, political and economic ally of the United States, who fought as allies with the U.S. in four wars in the 20th century, whose defeat of Mussolini’s forces in 1940 was a turning point in World War II, whose defeat of the communists (1946-49) was their first defeat by arms and a turning point in the Cold War and world history, who is an important partner in the war on terrorism, and who is the strategic key for the United States in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.

• • • •

"We urge you, Mr. President, in the best interests of the United States to reconsider this misinformed and ill-advised policy and to tell the State Department to withdraw recognition of FYROM as Macedonia and to tell FYROM to continue its diplomatic dialogue with Greece on the name issue in accordance with UN and EU policy."

The action of the State Department can be characterized as a diplomatic blunder at best and a betrayal of Greece to the detriment of U.S. interests.

2.  Cyprus

Mr. Grossman has been the lead policy official on U.S. relations with Greece, Cyprus and Turkey since he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Europe in 1997 and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in March 2001. He is the person responsible for the disastrous U.S. policy on Cyprus including (1) the appeasement of Turkey and double standards for Turkey on applying the rule of law to Turkey; (2) the undemocratic, unworkable and financially not viable Annan Plan which would have made Cyprus a Turkish protectorate; (3) the attacks on the Greek Cypriots for their "NO" vote in the April 24th, 2004 referendum on the Annan Plan; (4) the attacks on President Tassos Papadopoulos for his opposition to the Annan Plan; and (5) for his misleading the American people regarding the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots by failing to state publicly that the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is caused by Turkey's 35,000 armed occupation troops and the infamous Turkish barbed wire fence- the Green line.

3. The Aegean Sea boundary

Since at least 1997, Mr. Grossman has been the career official who has appeased Turkey by failing to state that the treaty-defined maritime border between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea is clear and that the islet of Imia is sovereign Greek territory.

Turkey has made outrageous and outlandish claims to one-half of the Aegean Sea and refuses to take its claim to the International Court of Justice at the Hague for a binding ruling.

The relevant agreements are the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, the Italy-Turkey Convention of January 4, 1932, the Italy-Turkey Protocol of December 28, 1932 and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty, under which the Dodecanese Islands and adjacent islets were ceded by Italy to Greece.

The U.S. is a signatory to the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty and is obligated by U.S. law to carry out its provisions. Yet Mr. Grossman has failed to declare publicly what the law is and has failed to inform successive Secretaries of State of their obligation to carry out the law. Mr. Grossman is further in violation of his oath of office by failing to faithfully execute the laws of the land.

4.  The Halki Patriarchal School of Theology

The Halki Patriarchal School of Theology was illegally closed by Turkey in 1971. Mr. Grossman was Deputy Chief of Mission to Turkey in 1989-1992 and U.S. Ambassador to Turkey during 1994-1997 prior to his becoming Assistant Secretary of State for Europe in 1997 and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in 2001 to the present time.

During these periods of time, Mr. Grossman has been all talk and no action. Despite nice sounding phrases regarding religious freedom to Greek American audiences, Mr. Grossman has not made one concrete action of diplomatic, economic or political pressure on Turkey regarding Halki or the other issues referred to above.

At no time did Mr. Grossman recommend conditions on our military and economic aid to Turkey. Mr. Grossman has been the chief appeaser of Turkey in the State Department for the past decade to the detriment of U.S. interests. If there is progress on Halki it will not be because of Mr. Grossman's words but pressure from the EU, pressure which the U.S. refuses to exert.

If you concur with these comments and wish to act please refer to the AHI Web site and the November 5, 2004 Action Alert on how to contact President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to express your thoughts.

Gene Rossides is President of 
the American Hellenic Institute
and former Assistant Secretary of Treasury


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