Dear __________:

On November 4, 2004 the State Department moved to officially recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as the "Republic of Macedonia." As a Greek-American and one of your constituents, I consider this to be an act of disgraceful proportions as it relates to Greece, our staunch ally and supporter in the Balkans, and harmful to U.S. interests in the region.

The Greek-American community is calling on President Bush to immediately reconsider this misinformed and ill-advised policy and to tell the State Department to withdraw recognition of FYROM as Macedonia as in the best interests of the United States. Recognition does not help to facilitate stability in the region. Consideration needed to be given to the sensitivities by this decision and how it would potentially impact all of FYROMís neighbors, especially Greece.

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, this recognition of a name for FYROM that the overwhelming majority of Europe and the rest of the world has not, will have a harmful impact on Greece and on our relations with Greece, our long-time loyal and NATO ally.

In announcing the recognition of FYROM as Macedonia, the State Department is disrespecting Greece and the Greek-American community. By its actions, the Administration is in effect disregarding the approximately 1,500,000 Americans of Hellenic descent as a non-entity in the formulation of U.S. policy since we are not consulted on decisions that impact Greece.

This action sends the wrong message to Greece that could be construed as dismissive of her sensitivities and concerns in the region. It also serves to create a climate whereby those small and extreme elements of Greek society can use this to fan the flames of "anti-Americanism."

It is not proper for a country, which is part of a region to define itself in an official manner as representing the whole region. Macedonia, like the Americas, Europe, Scandinavia, and the Balkans, is a region. Just as no country in North and South America would call itself the "American Republic," and no European country would call itself the "Republic of Europe," FYROM in naming itself cannot assume the mantle of Macedonia.

Greece and FYROM had increased their dialogue recently on strengthening bilateral relations, including the name, and this unexpected and sharp shift in U.S. policy is counter-productive. For our Government to be a party to this only serves to create instability in a volatile area of the Balkans and thus threatens our interests there.

I find it incomprehensible a US policy that equates 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 Mussoliniís forces in 1940 was a turning point in World War II, who gave the communists their first defeat by arms (1946-49), who is an important partner in the war of terrorism, and who is the strategic key for the United States in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.

I ask you to ask the State Department and the President for an explanation of this sudden shift in policy and to urge them to reverse their position and let FYROM and Greece to continue to work towards a diplomatic solution without unnecessarily confusing the issue and promoting an outcome that is neither in the short-term or long-term interests of the United States or Greece.

Sincerely yours,

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CONTACT INFORMATION
The Honorable George W. Bush
President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone:
202-456-1111 (Presidentís message line)
Fax:
202-456-0200
E-Mail:
president@whitehouse.gov
U.S. Department of State
The Honorable Colin Powell
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Phone :
202-647-4000 (Main Switchboard)
Phone :
202-647-6113 (Greek Desk Office)
U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable __________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone:
202-224-3121 (general number)
U.S. Senate
The Honorable __________
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: 202-224-3121 (general number)