Macedonian Diaspora Leaders Met UN Envoy Matthew Nimetz
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Representative leaders from the Macedonian Diaspora in North America
Gligor Tashkovich of New York City, Metodija A. Koloski of the United
Macedonian Diaspora in Washington, D.C. and Mark Opashinov of the Macedonian
Human Rights Movement of Canada in Toronto met earlier this month with
United Nations envoy Ambassador Matthew Nimetz who is responsible for
the mediation between the Republic of Greece and the Republic of Macedonia.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the recent proposal of "Republika
Makedonija-Skopje" made by Ambassador Nimetz to be used for bilateral
relations between Greece and Macedonia.
The Macedonian Diaspora representatives pointed out to Ambassador Nimetz
that in accordance with relevant international norms, the Republic of
Macedonia -- as is the case with any other country -- has the right
to self-determination, which is enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
One of the basic definitions of this right is the right to one's identity
and name. The Republic of Macedonia does not hold nor does it claim
to hold exclusive rights over the name Macedonia in geographic, cultural,
or historic terms. However, Greece does not have any such exclusive
rights either. The representatives further explained that the Republic
of Macedonia is neither demanding change nor objecting to the use of
the name "Macedonia" to designate Greece's northern province.
Regarding the name proposal made by Ambassador Nimetz, the representatives
pointed out that the proposed name is derogatory and adversely affects
Macedonians in Greece. The proposed name would open the doors for Greece
to refer to ethnic Macedonians - including those that live in Greece
- as "Skopjians," a term that Macedonians everywhere consider
derogatory. The implicit sanction of this term by such a bilateral resolution
to the name dispute will have especially harsh consequences for the
Macedonians of Greece, as it would legitimize Greece's official policy
of non-recognition and persecution of its sizable ethnic Macedonian
The Macedonian Diaspora representatives reiterated that the discussions
between Greece and Macedonia are about bilateral recognition only, and
should neither impact nor impede continued international recognition
of the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name.
The United Macedonian Diaspora is an international organization whose
mission is to address the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian
communities throughout the world.
Contact: (202) 294-3400; email@example.com
The Macedonian Human Rights Movement of Canada (MHRMC) has been active
on human rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since
1986. Its main objective is to pursue and attain all fundamental human
and national rights including the right of freedom of expression and
association and to support all democratic principles for all ethnic
Macedonians, and other oppressed peoples.
Contact: (416) 850-7125; firstname.lastname@example.org