US Congressman Rohrabacher apologizes for remarks on Macedonia

The US Congressmen and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, Dana Rohrabacher, offered an apology for his recent controversial remarks about Macedonia. He released Friday the following statement concerning widely quoted comments made recently about Macedonia:

'At the end of a recent interview, I made a number of informal statements regarding the Republic of Macedonia. Upon reflection, I see that some of those statements did not accurately convey my intent. This release clarifies my position. Macedonia is a legitimate country with the right of self-determination and sanctity of borders. My comment alluded, perhaps inartfully, to my concern with internal governing challenges that Macedonia faces concerning ethnic minorities.

I am in no way suggesting that anyone except Macedonians determine the sovereign status or borders of their country. If my words were taken to mean anything else, I apologize.

I want to recognize and applaud the positive relationship we have had with Macedonia. They are indeed a friend. This is especially evident in the meaningful support that the Macedonian military has provided over the past 20 years to the United States, to NATO, and to associated multilateral defense organizations, in peacekeeping and related refugee operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

I have had the opportunity to meet many Americans (and Macedonians) who have provided me with very useful input on the region’s history and current dynamics. I look forward to working together with them in the future and, most importantly, to continuing to do my part to help shape U.S. foreign policy so that it encourages a peaceful, prosperous and free Balkans,' Rohrabacher says.

On 7 February 2017, in an interview with the Albanian press, Rohrabacher (Republican-California), stated: 'Macedonia is not a country. I’m sorry, it’s not a country. Kosovars and Albanians in Macedonia should become part of Kosovo. The other part of Macedonia should become part of Bulgaria, or whatever country they allege to belong. The idea that we should keep Macedonia alive because someone 30 years ago decided this was the best reconfiguration that should come out of Yugoslavia’s disintegration, does not lead to a reasonable justification that this idea has to persist.'

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) immediately issued a statement condemning the Congressman and called for his resignation from the Europe Subcommittee.

On Thursday (February 16), the UMD President and Advisory Council member, Metodija A. Koloski and Chris Antoniou respectively, met with Congressman Rohrabacher for close to an hour regarding the matter and reiterated UMD's position of no change of borders to Macedonia.

UMD provided the Congressman with copies of several books and an educational packet of information of the human rights of the Macedonian minority in Greece.

During the meeting, the Congressman apologized for his insensitive comments.

"UMD appreciates the time Congressman Rohrabacher took to meet with UMD leadership and for correcting his statement to support Macedonia’s legitimate rights, and we hope he will remain committed to a stable unitary Macedonia' UMD's press release reads.


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