- - Friday, September 12, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Luke Coffey’s op-ed column (“U.S. must help usher Macedonia into NATO over Greek objections,” Web, Sept. 1) is, to borrow his word, “absurd.” First, Mr. Coffey’s account of ancient history is inaccurate. Alexander the Great was from the ancient Hellenic city-state of Macedonia. That is a historical truth supported by highly regarded classicists and historians.

Furthermore, Mr. Coffey’s statement that the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) makes “no territorial pretensions toward any neighbors” is false. Under Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s administration, FYROM has pursued a long-term policy of extreme nationalism and provocation against Greece, in conflict with Euro-Atlantic values. He has been pictured in public with a map of his country that includes the Greek province of Macedonia and Mount Olympus as one united political entity. FYROM also reintroduced the Hellenic symbol “Sun of Vergina” as the symbol of its country in television advertising spots running internationally, including in the United States.

These acts are a breach of the U.N.-brokered Interim Accord, erode efforts to build trust and good neighborly relations and do not embrace policies compatible with NATO or European Union standards. Despite FYROM’s provocations, Greece has and continues to compromise greatly, proposing “a compound name for the country; a name that will distinguish it from both the Greek and Bulgarian part.” This would help stabilize the Balkans and promote Euro-Atlantic standards, which is in the best interests of the United States, too.

GEORGEA POLIZOS

Legislative director

American Hellenic Institute

Washington

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