Vergina Sun Ring

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The decision in the Republic of Macedonia caused controversy both within the republic and outside it in its relations with Greece. The republic's large Albanian minority complained that it was an ethnic symbol of the ethnic Macedonian majority and was not suitable for a multi-ethnic state. Greek opposition was even more vehement. The Greek government and many Greek people, especially Greek Macedonians, saw it as the misappropriation of a Hellenic symbol and a direct claim on the legacy of Philip II. The dispute was exacerbated by clauses in the Republic of Macedonia's constitution that Greeks saw as a territorial claim on the Greek region of Macedonia. A Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman said in January 1995 that "the symbol is Greek and has been stolen. " Nationalists on both sides subsequently associated the symbol with the (much later) Star of Bethlehem and have argued that their respective communities have used the symbol for sacred purposes before the Vergina discovery. The Greek position on the symbol has been supported by some abroad, such as the former United States Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, who reportedly told a questioner: