Daniel Fried: Macedonians exist

VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images It’s official: Macedonians are real, at least according to the U.S. State Department.  At a NATO Summit Foreign Press Center briefing yesterday, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried was asked by a journalist if his use of the phrase “ethnic Macedonian” during the briefing meant that the U.S. Government has recognized “the ...

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595572_080408_fried2.jpg

VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images

It’s official: Macedonians are real, at least according to the U.S. State Department. 

At a NATO Summit Foreign Press Center briefing yesterday, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried was asked by a journalist if his use of the phrase “ethnic Macedonian” during the briefing meant that the U.S. Government has recognized “the so-called ‘Macedonian ethnicity and language."' (briefing video here, skip to 37:15)

VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images

It’s official: Macedonians are real, at least according to the U.S. State Department. 

At a NATO Summit Foreign Press Center briefing yesterday, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried was asked by a journalist if his use of the phrase “ethnic Macedonian” during the briefing meant that the U.S. Government has recognized “the so-called ‘Macedonian ethnicity and language.”‘ (briefing video here, skip to 37:15)

As if Macedonia didn’t have enough identity issues already, “so-called” comes in reference to the Bulgarian assertian that Macedonian, the language, is nothing more than a Bulgarian dialect written in a Serbian script. 

But Fried would hear none of it:

I don’t think it is so-called. Macedonian language exists. Macedonian people exist. We teach Macedonian at the Foreign Service Institute… There is also the historic Macedonian province, which is different from the country. And it’s important. It’s quite clear that the government in Skopje, what we Americans call the Government of Macedonia, has no claims. We recognize the difference between the historic territory of Macedonia, which is, of course, much larger than the current country.

By refusing to back down on his use of “Macedonia,” Assistant Secretary Fried has just gone where Dustin the Turkey refused to go. 

Lucy Moore is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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