Open Appeal to the Government of the Hellenic Republic
February 21, 2008
Prime Minister Konstandinos Karamanlis
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis
Ambassador Alexandros Mallias
We the undersigned Hellenes and Philhellenes in America address ourselves to you with respect to the policy of the Hellenic Republic towards the illegal separatist movement by Albanian Muslims in the Serbian province of Kosovo.
Until recently, the Greek government has been clear: Greece would not recognize any unilateral declaration of Kosovo independence, which would violate all accepted standards of international law and set the stage for further threats to the safety of Orthodox Christian Serbs in that province.
However, on February 18 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a highly disturbing statement reading in part:
Greece has always believed and continues to believe that the best solutions to differences and problems arise from mutually acceptable arrangements. From dialogue and negotiations. Not from unilateral actions and accomplished facts. This position, founded on respect for the principle of the peaceful resolution of differences, also determined our policy on the Kosovo issue. Yesterday��s decisions in Pristina undoubtedly shaped a new reality in the particularly sensitive region of the Western Balkans. . . .
As regards the issue of recognition of the new state of affairs C which can in no way serve as a precedent “C Greece will take its decisions at a coming stage, when it has examined all of the developments in depth; all of the dimensions and consequences these developments have for regional security and Greeces interests”.
There is no way to read these words without concluding that the Greek government believes that its earlier support for solutions based on dialogue and negotiations has been overtaken by the “new reality” of the Kosovo Albanians”illegal declaration on February 17. The phrases” recognition of the new state of affairs” and “Greece will take its decision at a coming stage” can mean only that Greece is considering reversing its previous position and may recognize the illicit, separatist administration in Pristina.
Your Excellencies, with all due respect, as Americans and as Greeks we insist in the strongest possible terms that Greece must not depart from its previously defined position and must state categorically and unalterably that it will not now, or at any time in the future, grant recognition to Kosovo or support any settlement of the Kosovo question imposed on Serbia. Contrary to the language of the February 18 Foreign Ministry statement, dialogue and negotiations within the rule of law are not the “best” solutions to differences and problems, they are the only acceptable solutions. Recognition of the separatist Albanian regime in Kosovo would mean precisely acceptance of an imposed settlement based on “unilateral actions and accomplished facts. “The declaration in Pristina on February 17 and its recognition by some countries, including the United States and certain members of the European Union, created no “new reality” or “new state of affairs,” only the anticipated illegal action by the Kosovo Albanian separatists encouraged by Washington. And of course, despite any soothing suggestion to the contrary, recognition of Kosovos separation from Serbia without an agreed settlement would establish a precedent with a profoundly destabilizing impact in many regions in the world, not least in areas directly affecting Greece and Cyprus.
A reversal of Greeces position and recognition of Kosovo��s separation from Serbia would undermine the courageous and principled stand of Cyprus, Spain, and the other EU countries that have refused to recognize Kosovo despite heavy pressure from Washington and from certain EU capitals.
A reversal of Greeces position and recognition of Kosovos separation from Serbia would inflict a devastating wound on the principal of the territorial integrity of sovereign states under the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and other binding commitments. This would be very harmful to Greece in the face of ongoing threats including Albanian irredentism in southern Epiros (ameria), suggestions from Turkey that the 1947 return of the Dodecanese Islands to Greece was invalid, and nascent separatism of Muslims in Thraki.
A reversal of Greeces position and recognition of Kosovos separation from Serbia would weaken the security of Greeces sister republic, Cyprus, by validating the principle that outside powers may dictate the amputation of a states sovereign territory. Such claims have already been made by supporters of the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” and would increase in intensity if a Kosovo pseudo-state were consolidated on Serbian soil.
A reversal of Greeces position and recognition of Kosovos separation from Serbia would heighten the threat to the lives and safety of the remaining Orthodox Christian Serbs in Kosovo, two-thirds of whom already have been driven from their homes and prevented from returning. Despite further empty promises from the international community, they could count on no protection in any independent Kosovo. The remainder of their churches and monasteries would face destruction or desecration.
A reversal of Greeces position and recognition of Kosovos separation from Serbia would help add a new link to the “Green Transversal” project of Islamic strategic advance into Europe from European Turkey, along the heavily Muslim Greece-Bulgaria border, into an unstable FYROM, and on to Kosovo, Sandjak, and Bosnia. Creation of another new Muslim state to Greeces north would give impetus to what has been called a re-Ottomanization of the Balkans.
The risk of these consequences cannot be justified by superficial political considerations. Why should Greece adjust its policies to its own detriment because the U.S. State Department demands it? Why should Greece bow to the will of the “big” countries of the EU when there is no common policy and every member country, big or small, has a right to its own opinion and the safeguarding of its own interests? Why should Greece be tricked into taking an action harmful to its interests because someone, somewhere may have falsely hinted to Greece some flexibility on the FYROM name issue?
We should remember that in 1941, when Hitler demanded passage south to attack Greece, which was then soundly defeating his collaborator Mussolini, the Serbs said No, we will not betray our ally. They could have said Yes to Hitler, but they refused. Their refusal cost them a million lives.
Today, no one is demanding a million Greek lives, or even one, in support of Serbia. But for her own security and that of Cyprus no less than Serbias, Greece must say OXI to the demand to ignore the rule of law, ignore the command of conscience, and ignore the mortal danger to our Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters in Kosovo.
Again, with all due respect, we insist that the government of the Hellenic Republic must state categorically and unalterably that it will not now, or at any time in the future, grant recognition to Kosovo or support any settlement of the Kosovo question imposed on Serbia. We await your prompt, definitive, and public action on this matter.
As explained in the following Appeal to the Greek government, there are disturbing indications that Athens — one of the EU countires that has so far refused to bow to State Department pressure to recognize the illegal separatist declaration of independence by the Albanian Muslims in Kosovo — may be about to reverse that course. This would terribly undermine the other countries, especially Cyprus, that have categorically said OXI to that illegal action.
This appeal from Americans of Greek descent and American Philhellenes, addressed to Prime Minister Karamanlis, Foreign Minister Bakoyannis, and Ambassador to the U.S. Mallias, insists that the government in Athens make it clear that Greece will not change its position on Kosovo. The appeal points out the devastating consequences this would have on Greek and Cypriot security and the rule of law.
This needs to go out as soon as possible. There is every reason to believe that Greek officials may be working to weaken the resolve of their counterparts in Spain, Romanian, etc. We need to raise the outcry now. The appeal is dated February 21 and will be sent out by 10 AM Eastern Standard time. It will also be released to Greek, American, and international media.
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