2011-03-23 Greek cablegate revelations: The "Buddha" Prime Minister and Macedonia's naming issue.

WL Central continues its coverage of Greek diplomatic cables, published by SKAI media group and Kathimerini newspaper. Today’s cables are focusing on the previous government of Greece, the right-wing New Democracy, with 2 cables on the internal workings of the government and 1 cable referring to the President of FYROM and the naming issue.

American ambassador: PM Karamanlis is the “Buddha” of Greek political scene.

In a cable dated October 3rd, 2008, the US embassy in Athens appears to be worrying about the various political scandals plaguing the Karamanlis administration, as well as his marginal parliamentary majority.

Daniel Speckhard, the US ambassador, notes that despite the scandals, and the internal party troubles, Karamanlis pushed through the parliament the controversial privatization of the national air carrier Olympic Airlines as well as a bill protecting homeowners against foreclosures due to the economic crisis.

The ambassador then characterizes Karamanlis as the “Buddha” of Greek politics “because he keeps his own counsel and rarely indicates what he is planning”. “The Buddha” he continues “is likely always contemplating ways to strengthen his position”.

Original cable

The former Foreign Minister is closer to PM Karamanlis than the current. Also former FM’s thoughts on FYROM’s naming issue.

During the Karamanlis administration, the US embassy in Athens, sends a cable, dated August 20, 2007, noting that former Foreign Minister Moliviatis was not only closer to the PM than the then Foreign Minister Bakoyianni, but that he is actually the “unofficial foreign policy adviser”.

The author then summarizes the conversation he had with Moliviatis, concerning the naming issue of FYROM, which is essentially a dispute between Macedonia and Greece. The former states that it is their right to use any name they want for their country, meaning Macedonia, while the latter objects to this name because the region of Greece bordering FYROM is already called Macedonia for thousands of years. The Greek part of Macedonia was also the homeland of Alexander the Great.

The author then asked Mr. Moliviatis, the meaning of his public statement that Greece had gone eighty percent of the way to a solution and Skopje must cover the last 20 percent. The former Foreign Minister answered by stating that Greece had accepted the term “Macedonia” to be a part of the name of FYROM. He also noted that this was a red line for previous Greek administrations “and as FM, he had needed to push Karamanlis hard to accept the possibility that FYROM´s official name would include the term”. Skopje needed to go the last 20 percent by agreeing to a variation. This was undone in December of 2005 when Nimetz, the UN mediator, proposed a dual-name solution, which Greece was obliged to reject.

According to the cable, Mr. Moliviatis revealed that PM Karamanlis was seriously considering vetoing Skopje’s NATO membership without resolution of the name issue first. “But” Mr. Moliviatis added “that might be exactly what was needed to get Skopje to take a more realistic approach to the issue”. He also mentioned that Greece didn’t have any specific strategy for the naming issue, and they wanted to know if Washington was willing to resolve this issue at that time.

He characteristically told to the author that Greeks were "used to being (expletive deleted) by a big state like Turkey, but getting the same treatment from a small upstart like Skopje is unacceptable".

The publicizing of this cable has caused a turmoil the last days between Bakoyianni, now expelled from the New Democracy party, and Moliviatis, with the first accusing Moliviatis of “being preparing someone to confront her” for the presidency of her former party after Karamanlis’ step down from the party’s presidency when he lost the elections of 2009. Additionally, according to Mrs. Bakoyianni, Mr. Moliviatis “felt the need to inform about these actions the American embassy”.

Original cable

Macedonia’s president: I'm sure Greece will veto our NATO entry.

In a revealing cable of the US embassy in FYROM, at February 7, 2008, two months before the Greek veto in Skopje’s NATO membership, FYROM’s president Nikola Gruevski states as a sure fact that Greece will veto his country.

Gruevski states that “if I were Karamanlis and did not veto in Bucharest, I would hand in my resignation”. He also acknowledges that the naming issue is a basic obstacle in the European and NATO aspirations of Macedonia. He notes, though, that any compromise in the naming issue should be endorsed by the citizens in a referendum.

He reveals that his Foreign Minister had recently proposed to him the names "Independent Republic of Macedonia" and "Sovereign Republic of Macedonia”.

Original cable

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer