Macedonia: Greece says Macedonia remains captive of irredentist policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue May 27 15:41:16 UTC 2008

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Greece says Macedonia remains captive of irredentist policy

Athens /26/05/ 10:38

****Greece blamed the officials and church leaders in Macedonia of
irredentist policy that jeopardizes the Balkans' stability and hampers the
country's entry into EU and NATO. The latest verbal flare-up came during a
memorial service in Rome at the tomb of St. Cyril on Saturday, after the
statement of Archbishop Stefan, the head of Macedonian Orthodox Church, who
claimed that Greece denies the existence of the Macedonian nation and
Macedonian Church. "St. Cyril, today in your and our Thessaloniki,
everything you did has turned to stone. Today, in your city of birth,
everything has been rendered ashes and dust, and not a single letter remains
from your and our language. Today it is forbidden not only that this
language be spoken, but its very existence itself. Everything Macedonian is
persecuted and displaced, while the name of our country and church, and the
truth itself, is disputed," Archbishop Stefan said during the memorial event
for St Cyril held at San Clemente church in Vatican.

Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said "such irredentist statements are
dangerous for regional cooperation and stability in the fragile region of
the Balkans". Bakoyannis said Archbishop Stefan's statements, made in the
presence of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, were "extremely provocative and
totally unacceptable", and proved "firstly, the correctness of the Greek
arguments and stands that insist on the need for resolving the name issue.
"As long as the problem remains unsolved, it will serve as the tool and
vehicle of an outdated and historically unfounded irredentism that is
dangerous for regional cooperation and stability of the fragile region of
the Balkans," Bakoyannis said.

"The neighbouring country cannot look forward to Euro-Atlantic future as
long as it remains captive to irredentist rationales of the past," she
added. On behalf of the Greek Church, Metropolitan Antimos of Thessaloniki
made it clear that Greece would never agree that Macedonia name be stolen or
used by its northern neighbours. Thessaloniki mayor and MPs of various
parties joined the condemnation. A number of daily newspapers commented the
statement of Archbishop Stefan.
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