Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Powell takes rap for Macedonia

Former US secretary of state Colin Powell has told Kathimerini that he was responsible for Washington’s decision to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as “Macedonia” in 2004, with the aim of easing tensions in the volatile Balkan state.

In an interview published in yesterday’s Kathimerini, Powell said he made the decision, despite Greek objections, to avoid the escalation of a crisis in FYROM that “could have provoked a huge explosion.”

Questioned about the Cyprus problem, Powell expressed his disappointment with the Greek Cypriots’ rejection in 2004 of the Annan plan – the blueprint for the island’s reunification drafted by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. He said peace talks should be revived – “when the time is right” – but said leadership changes, on both sides of the island, may be necessary if the problem is to be solved.

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