Wednesday, 16 May 2012
No Admission to NATO For Macedonia During Chicago Summit
"The Alliance's position remains unchanged and is still based on the decision taken at the 2008 Bucharest summit, when NATO deemed Macedonia ready to join once it concludes the long-standing name dispute with Greece. Unfortunately, there has not been progress in this direction. Nevertheless, the decision we took four years ago continues to apply."
The issue evolves around a name dispute between Greece and Macedonia. Greece objects to the use of the name, citing territorial and historical concerns, as it applies to its northern historical region and the ancient kingdom of Macedon which falls within Greek Macedonia.
Greece further objects to the use of the term "Macedonian" for the neighboring country's largest ethnic group and its language. The Republic of Macedonia is accused of appropriating symbols and figures that are historically considered parts of Greece's culture (such as Vergina Sun and Alexander the Great), and of promoting the irredentist concept of a United Macedonia, which would include territories of Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, and Serbia. Wikepedia
Just as the dispute affects Macedonia's admission to NATO, the United Nations ran into difficulties admitting the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name, namely with Greece providing the roadblock. Finally a provisional name was adopted for the purposes of UN entry. The UN Security Council endorsed the admission and recommended "that the State whose application is contained in document S/25147 be admitted to membership in the United Nations, this State being provisionally referred to for all purposes within the United Nations as 'the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia' pending settlement of the difference that has arisen over the name of the State."
The council made clear in its recommendation that:
The appellation "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" was purely a provisional term to be used only until the dispute was resolved.
The term was a reference, not a name; as a neutral party in the dispute, the United Nations had not sought to determine the name of the state.
More on the Background of the Name Dispute
To date the name dispute has not been resolved and thus the rejection by NATO, which is also backed by the United States.
“In view of Macedonia, the country has met the key membership criteria. The United States remains engaged and supports negotiations aimed at solving the name row."
One would think that NATO could use the same approach as the United Nations did in dealing with Macedonia. After all Macedonia has been involved in several NATO peacekeeping missions, including the deployment of 244 soldiers in Afghanistan.
Greece of course is a member of NATO and the Eurozone and obviously yields some political influence in those organizations.
The International Court of Justice ruled that Greece had breached an interim deal, brokered by the UN in 1995 (provisional name of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), when it blocked Macedonia’s attempt to join NATO in 2008. Under the terms of the UN deal, Greece was obliged not to prevent Macedonia from joining international organizations as long it used a provisional UN reference, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The Hague court broadly upheld Macedonia's case, but did not accept other demands, made by Macedonia, that Greece be ordered to stop blocking Macedonia from joining the EU and NATO.
Obviously the name is important to both countries and has caused ethnic strife in Macedonia, pitching one part of the population on another. While it took a long time to get to this point, Macedonia also has a right to have its name issue resolved. At the very least it should not be the stumbling block for it to join NATO. After all the country is good enough to contribute to NATO missions.