IN RESPONSE TO REMARKS IN ELEFTHEROTYPIA
March 9, 1999
The following information was sent to the Greek mass media. As has consistently been the case, Greek media refused to acknowledge the press release let alone give it any visibility -- despite the fact that it was in response to widely publicized and relevant information. Greek media in general implements an "embargo" upon any statements by the RAINBOW party merely because RAINBOW represents the members of the Macedonian minority living in Greece -- a minority whose existence is officially denied by Greek authorities and whose voice is silenced by the Greek mass media.
Florina / Lerin 09.03.1999
With regard to the article by Takis Diamantis in the 05.03.1999 issue of "Eleftherotypia", alleging that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia during his visit in Canada invited members of Macedonian organizations in that country to "...keep up the struggle for a united Macedonia..." the Rainbow party wishes to make the following public statement:
We believe it is beyond anyone's understanding that a Foreign Minister could be making statements like these. If these statements are accurately reported by "Eleftherotypia", then Rainbow disapproves of them. Such greater-Macedonia ideologies should meet with disapproval, regardless of where they come from. They are harmful not only for neighbouring relations between the Balkan countries, but possibly a threat to regional peace and stability.
The Rainbow party reiterates its position that minority issues should be resolved exclusively among governments and representatives of ethnic minorities, without intervention from neighbouring states or other countries. In fact, international conventions (to which Greece is signatory), such as the European Convention on Minority Rights (September, 1997) could be a good basis for resolving the problems of ethnic minorities in Greece, especially the Macedonian and Turkish minorities.
Rainbow thinks that minority issues are of considerable significance to the further democratization of Greek society, the European perspective of the country and the development of political democracy in the state. We call on the Greek Government to start a dialogue with the Macedonian minority in order to resolve problems such as the introduction of the Macedonian language in the education system, repatriation of Macedonian political refugees who left Greece in 1949 and others. We also invite the Greek Government to submit the European Convention on minority rights for ratification in parliament and ratify it in its entirety, without reservation or exclusion, and implement all provisions therein pertaining to the Macedonian ethnic minority in Greece.
This is the only way for the Greek Government to prove to the domestic and international public that it is sincerely interested in human rights and its sensitivity is not limited to the rights of Kurds in Turkey. Allegedly, Mr. Papandreou, the new Foreign Minister of Greece, stated that Greece aided PKK leader Ocalan for "humanitarian" reasons -- following accusations from the Turkish Government and world media that Greece aided and supported a terrorist like Ocalan and a terrorist organization like PKK. Such statements can only be credible and sincere when the Greek Government demonstrates sensitivity for the rights of its own citizens living in Greece, including its Macedonian and Turkish ethnic minorities.