President Bush Greets MPO Representatives
In May 2001, MPO National President Chris Evanoff, MPO National President Paul Simoff, MPO National Vice-President for the United States George Lebamoff, MPO National Secretary George Rochette, MPO Administrative Executive Virginia Surso, and former MPO National President Colonel Boris Chaleff (USAF, ret.) visited Washington, D.C. During their three-day visit, the MPO representatives met with Senators, Congressmen, State Department officials, and National Security Council officials. Additionally, the group met with Brigadier General Metodija Vanevski, Defense, Military and Air Attaché and Oliver Krliu, Counselor, both with the Macedonian Embassy.
The highlight of the three-day visit was a personal greeting from President George W. Bush. In addition, the group received a tour of the White House and had lunch in the White House with Macedonian-American Tim Goeglein, Special Assistant to President Bush and Deputy Director of the Office of Public Liaison.
President Bush greeted each member of the contingent just outside the White House Rose Garden and commented on his meeting with Republic of Macedonia President Boris Trajkovski.
The group distributed a Point Paper during their meetings outlining key issues and facts pertaining to the Republic and reinforced the importance of ensuring that members of Congress and government officials have a comprehensive and proper factual basis for making policy decisions pertaining to Macedonia. Aides for Senators Joseph Biden of Delaware, Jesse Helms of North Carolina, George Voinovich of Ohio, Richard Lugar of Indiana and Gordon Smith of Washington provided updates on U.S. aid programs for Macedonia. In addition, they reiterated their concern for assisting Macedonia with designing economic development, private investment and job creation strategies that will lead to a more stable Macedonia.
Congressman Mark Souder of Ft. Wayne, one of the most supportive members of Congress for Macedonia, also met with the group. Angela Flood, his chief of staff and a Macedonian-American, also participated in the meeting. Both offered suggestions for generating additional congressional support when issues pertinent to Macedonian-Americans and the Republic were being deliberated in government agencies and in Congress.