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Capitol Hill Briefing on the Balkans by Ambassador Alexandros Mallias

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Senior Congressional staff, executive branch officials, and key opinion leaders were briefed on developments in the Balkans by Greece’s Ambassador to the United States Alexandros Mallias on January 25, 2007, at the first event related to southeast Europe during the 110th Congress.

Ambassador Mallias stressed Greece’s consistent policy of supporting the European aspirations of Balkan countries. He said E.U. – U.S. strategic cooperation in the region is of fundamental importance in achieving peace, stability, and prosperity.

He also highlighted the importance of Bulgarian and Romanian accession to the European Union, as well as Greece’s leading role in the energy and other sectors and, more generally, regarding regional economic and political integration.

There should be no humiliation or triumph in connection with Kosovo’s final status. Neither annexation nor partition is conceivable, the Greek ambassador stressed. Present solutions must not leave the problem unresolved for future generations, he said.

He also referred extensively to the provocative and hostile propaganda of the Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in a power point presentation of expansionist maps used in schools and by FYROM’s military academy, as well as of television interviews which demonstrate that the use of the name of Alexander the Great for Skopje’s airport is part of irredentist and political propaganda.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) made remarks at the meeting, sponsored by The National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) and chaired by Andrew Manatos.

The Greek ambassador’s briefing on the Balkans was attended by senior Senate and House staff with jurisdiction over or interest in these issues, key executive branch officials from the National Security Council and the State Department, top Balkan experts at Washington think tanks and other institutions such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the International Monetary Fund, the International Strategic Studies Association, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the World Bank, as well as Washington media that cover southeastern Europe.

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