EAGLEBURGER: GREECE HAS NO HISTORIC RIGHT TO DISPUTE OVER MACEDONIA'S NAME
The name dispute is unnecessary and unfounded, since Macedonia was called the same in the time of former Yugoslavia and this did not cause any problems then, says former U.S. Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger.
"The country that is now named Macedonia was called the same during its existence as a republic within the former Yugoslavia. Did this fact lead to serious problems between Greece and Yugoslavia or between Greece and the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia? There were misunderstandings now and then, but they never reached a point when they would pose a threat to peace in the region. Is there anything more immature and more foolish than 'blackmailing' a nation by denying its membership in international organizations, which goal is to preserve the peace and protect their members from aggression of non-members", says Eagleburger in an interview with NTV station.
Pertaining to Greek accusations that Macedonia is creating 'antiquisation', Eagleburger stresses it has no right to make the antique Macedonian history its own.
"Greece claims that Macedon or Macedonia, as well as Alexander of Macedonia are its own. This is a false claim and it is time someone confirms this. The Antique Greeks considered Macedonia a half-civilized region, representing a source of raw materials and nothing more. Macedonia's rise in the time of Phillip and his son Alexander was greeted with opposition, resulting in a defeat of several cities. Phillip and Alexander were considered tyrants who destroy Greeks' freedom. The claims of modern Greeks that the antique kingdom of Macedon was their own ignores a historic fact", adds Eagleburger.
Due to these facts, he cannot accept the validity of Greece's request for ownership of name Macedonia.
"Ancient Greeks had never been eager in claiming Macedonia was theirs and they never accepted either Phillip or Alexander as their own legitimate rulers. The Greek claim about Macedonia is based on historically incorrect information and are therefore not fact-based", says the former U.S. Secretary of State.
Eagleburger has sympathies for the Macedonian people, although he realizes it is not wise for a foreigner to interfere with internal affairs of two states.
"However, my excitement from the strength of character that the Macedonian people has demonstrated in the course of this debate justifies the fact of my taking sides", underlines Lawrence Eagleburger in the NTV interview.