OO RUEHBW RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHTH #0736/01 1491518
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 281518Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1877
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ATHENS 000736
DEPT FOR EUR/SE, EUR/SCE AND ISN; SECDEF FOR DASD DOUGLAS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/27/2018
SUBJECT: PSI: GREECE OBJECTS TO NAME TO BE USED FOR
MACEDONIA AT 5-YEAR ANNIVERSARY EVENT
Classified by A/Pol Counselor Jeff Hovenier for 1.4 (b) and
1. (C) In a May 28 meeting with DCM, MFA Secretary General
Agathocles said Greece would "leave" the PSI fifth
anniversary meeting in Washington, should Macedonia be
present as "Macedonia" or "Republic of Macedonia."
Agathocles said Greece had raised its concerns with how PSI
refers to Macedonia with DOD DASD Douglas on the margins of
the February 2008 PSI Operational Experts Group (OEG)
meeting, and thought that this issue had been resolved. If
this is not resolved, Greece will be forced to "leave" the
meeting, as to do otherwise could be misconstrued as a
change in Greece's position vis-a-vis the name issue. DCM
pushed back, suggesting Greece could defend its position by
stating on the record at the meeting that its participation
is not and should not be construed as a change in the Greek
position. The DCM noted the value the U.S. places on
Greece's participation in PSI, and urged that Greece remain
at the PSI event, should the question of Macedonia's
participation not be resolved on Greece's terms.
Agathocles said the GOG had considered this option, but had
concluded it must "leave" the meeting in the event
Macedonia is present as "Macedonia." DCM made clear this
meeting is not intended to send a signal either to Skopje
or Athens on the name issue, termed any potential Greek
departure from the meeting unfortunate, and urged that
responses remain low-key, whatever the outcome. Agathocles
said Greece would seek to keep the issue low-key, but added
that the issue would likely "come out" in public. End
Greek Concerns with PSI Event
2. (C) Agathocles urgently requested a meeting May 28 in
response to reports from the Greek Embassy in Washington
that Macedonia would be participating in the May 28 PSI 5-
year anniversary event as "Macedonia." Agathocles began
the meeting stating that Greece is "astonished" by this
development. Agathocles said Amb. Rallis, the head of the
Greek delegation to the February 2008 meeting in London of
the PSI OEG had met with the head of the U.S. delegation to
the OEG, DOD DASD Richard Douglas, and had raised the
issue, noting that some PSI documents (including the
Department of State's website listing of PSI participating
states) had referred to Macedonia as "Macedonia" instead of
"the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." Rallis felt
that as a result of this meeting, the issue would be
resolved. Therefore, the Greek MFA did not follow up with
Embassy Athens or in Washington.
3. (C) Agathocles said he had just spoken with Greek
Ambassador Mallia`shington, who reported the referred to as "Macedonia" or the
"Republic of Macedonia," Greece would have "no choice but
to leave the meeting." Agathocles said MFA lawyers advised
that to do otherwise could establish a precedent for claims
that Greece's position on the name issue had changed and
that this could be misused by Skopje.
4. (C) DCM pushed back making the following points:
-- The U.S. understands the sensitivity of the name issue
and also highly values Greece's role within PSI. Greece
has been a major contributor to PSI and to the OEG.
-- No one in the world - including in Skopje Q could
mistake the Greek position. Nobody would take the fact of
Greek attendance at the PSI meeting as a sign that Greece's
position on the name issue had changed.
-- Greece could protect its position, however, by stating
on the record at the meeting that its position on the name
issue is "known" and that its presence at the meeting
should in no way be construed as a change in the Greek
-- Should Greece leave the meeting, it runs the risk of
ATHENS 00000736 002 OF 002
leaving the false impression that PSI is not important to
Greece. The people at the PSI meeting are experts on
proliferation, not on the Balkans. Neither they - nor the
U.S. officials who actually follow the name issue - would
easily understand a Greek decision to withdraw entirely
from an important event rather than to make its legal point
in an unambiguous but less dramatic manner.
-- Regardless of how this comes out, we also advise that
Greece not make "too much" of the situation. This meeting
is not intended to send signals either to Greece or
Macedonia on the name issue - it is a meeting about PSI
matters. The DCM said he hoped that the MFA had given Amb.
Mallias explicit instructions not to take the issue to the
press, regardless of whether it was solved to Greece's
satisfaction or not.
5. (C) Agathocles said that Greece had considered
carefully its various options, and that he had discussed
them with FM Bakoyannis. However, Greece would have no
choice but to leave the meeting if Macedonia is not seated
as "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," or if that
is not the name used in any documents/statements coming out
of the meeting. He said that the GOG will seek to keep the
issue low-key, and he affirmed that he had already
instructed Amb. Mallias to this effect, but added that the
story will likely "get out" in public somehow.
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