US REMARK CAUSES GREEK PROTESTS
Athens has protested US Under-Secretary of State, Daniel Fried’s statement that there is a Macedonian language and Macedonian ethnicity.
“The Macedonian language exists. Macedonian people exist,” Fried told media at a Monday press conference in Washington, “The ethnicity is – you know, it’s just a fact as far as I can tell”.
Greek Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyannis told media Tuesday that “these kinds of comments are not useful for talks.” The Greek daily Ethnos reported that the Greek ambassador Alexandros Mallias had sent a protest to Washington.
Fried stated “It’s quite clear” that Skopje has “no claims” over the Greek northern province of Macedonia. He reiterated the United States’ support for the long running name talks under United Nations auspices.
Athens denies the existence of the Macedonian language and ethnicity. The Greek Foreign Ministry’s website claims that the Macedonian national identity is fake as their country “was formed from scrap” during the former socialist Yugoslavia.
"We are punished for who we are and not for what we have done," Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski said in his statement after the NATO summit in Bucharest.
Meanwhile media in both countries report of intensified U.S. diplomatic activity in order for the UN-sponsored talks to continue. Citing unnamed sources, media report that Fried contacted both Athens and Skopje to confirm whether they are ready to return to the negotiating table.
MD: Mister Fried just told the truth, the truth is hard for Greece. And the world is seeing yet again that the Greeks do not recognise our existence.