CHICAGO AND WASHINGTON DC, May 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) will host a Gala tomorrow May 19, 2012 at the Hilton Chicago to support the efforts of the Republic of Macedonia to join NATO. Macedonia's President Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Jansa, and Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will be honored.
At the 2009 Strasbourg-Kehl Summit, President Obama stated "I look forward to the day when we can welcome Macedonia to the Alliance." UMD believes that the NATO Chicago Summit provides President Obama a golden opportunity to lead on this issue, while enjoying overwhelming strong support from the U.S. Congress and NATO think-tank community - it's time to grant Macedonia its earned seat at the table. In today's Roll Call, President Obama's first National Security Adviser General James Jones argued "As Macedonia's soldiers wait on the doorstep of NATO forces' headquarters in Afghanistan, facing the same dangers as American troops, without any national caveats, the summit in Chicago seems to be the right moment for NATO to open its doors to Macedonia without objection from any of the 28 member states."
Macedonia has been ready to join NATO since 2008, but was blocked by Greece due to its objections over Macedonia's name alleging it is Greek. Macedonia received its Membership Action Plan during the 1999 Washington Summit, following its leadership providing refuge to over 360,000 Kosovars while hosting the logistical support center for NATO's KFOR Mission, which is currently still based in Macedonia. Macedonia maintains the fourth largest troop contribution per capita to NATO efforts in Afghanistan and patrols the ISAF Headquarters in Kabul. Following Greece's veto at the Bucharest Summit, Macedonia took Greece to the International Court of Justice. In December 2011, the ICJ ruled that Greece violated international law in a near unanimous decision - a Greek judge being the only descent.
Tomorrow's Gala will be attended by over 250 guests from throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, including U.S. and State of Illinois officials, consular representatives, and business community leaders.
Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is a leading international non-governmental organization advocating for the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities worldwide. To learn more, visit www.UMDiaspora.org.
SOURCE United Macedonian Diaspora