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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Wrong cause of Macedonian instability

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The article published Feb. 6 by The Washington Times titled "Macedonia complains Greece is 'irrational' " needed more context. The foreign minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Nikola Poposki, accusing Greece of being irrational is the result of mirror-imaging. The issue of instability in his country is the result of bad governance by the Slav-led majority, endangering the stability of the entire region.

Greece is the only neighboring state with no claims whatsoever to the country, and its contribution to the regional stability kept the FYROM together in 2001.

One must have in mind that the FYROM's economic development is part of the investment strategy that Greek enterprises have been building up for more than a decade. Greek entrepreneurs and business people have created thousands of jobs for the FYROM citizens, whose unemployment rate is between 30 percent and 40 percent.

Despite its financial mess, Greece is an important American ally, spending 3.6 percent of its gross domestic product on defense versus just 1.4 percent by the FYROM - far below the expected spending level of 2 percent for NATO members. In addition, only 26.2 percent of the FYROM's population favors EU and NATO membership. Greece does not deserve to have its hand bitten time after time.

KOSTAS HATZISTEFANIDIS

President

Pan-Macedonian Association USA

New York

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