Friday, March 23, 2007

FYROM proposal by year-end

The United Nations is considering making a new proposal by the end of the year to resolve the dispute over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, diplomatic sources said yesterday.

The development was revealed after new UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis in New York. It was Bakoyannis’s first meeting with the South Korean diplomat since he took over the leadership of the UN in January.

“We talked about Cyprus, FYROM, Kosovo and other matters,” said Ban after the meeting, which was also attended by the UN’s Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe. The American diplomat has been put in charge of trying to find a solution to the dispute between Athens and Skopje over FYROM’s name.

A proposal in 2006 by Pascoe’s predecessor, Matthew Nimetz, that FYROM should be renamed Republika Makedonija-Skopje was accepted by Athens but rejected by Skopje.

Bakoyannis is due to meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington today for further diplomatic talks.

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos yesterday accused Turkey of showing a lack of respect for its neighbor after Ankara responded to official complaints from Greece about recent fighter jet violations by handing Greek diplomats a report which blames air force pilot Costas Iliakis for a crash between a Greek and a Turkish F-16 last summer which resulted in Iliakis’s death.

The pilot died after colliding with a Turkish plane that entered Greek air space. Koumoutsakos said Ankara’s report was “against the principle of good-neighborly relations.”

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