Thursday, May 03, 2007

PM slams FYROM for name impasse

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis lashed out yesterday at the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) «intransigence» as Greece stepped up criticism of the neighboring country's failure to agree to settle the dispute over its name.

«We have taken all the necessary steps but all we are getting from the other side is an apparently intransigent stance and we are waiting for this to change,» said Karamanlis after meeting with his Slovenian counterpart Janes Jansa in Athens.

Greece was upset last week that Skopje made public a letter from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that suggested Washington would back FYROM's bid to enter NATO even if it has not settled its dispute with Greece.

Athens insists that it will only settle on a name that is mutually acceptable by both sides and feels that FYROM has shied away from negotiations. Greece has threatened to bar FYROM's way to the European Union if a solution is not found.

Slovenia is due to take over the six-month rotating EU presidency at the beginning of next year.

Karamanlis also said it was vital that further negotiations take place on the future of Kosovo. He said that talks should continue so that a viable solution «acceptable to everyone» can be found.

Serbia does not want to grant the province, which is under UN supervision, independence but its ethnic Albanian majority wants to break away.

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