Monday, June 11, 2007

FM: FYROM must abandon irredentist propaganda, acts

Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis echoed Athens' standing position that the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) must abandon irredentist actions, practices and propaganda and actively prove that it was following a policy of good neighbourliness, in press interview published on Sunday.

Bakoyannis noted that Skopje must abide by the "letter and spirit" of all agreements between the two countries, because only in that way will "our bilateral relations be fully normalised, regional cooperation reinforced, and the neighbouring country's Euro-Atlantic course proceed smoothly".

Replying to a question, Bakoyannis said she saw no link between the fact that the Skopje government's application for NATO membership will be examined in March 2008 and the scheduled holding of general elections in Greece the same month, in accordance with the provisions of the Greek constitution.

She stressed, in fact, that "the Greek government exercises its foreign policy with the aim of strengthening the country's national interests, and not at creating impressions for domestic consumption".

Questioned on the developments in Turkey, Bakoyannis said "our desire is that the outcome of recent developments will be a stable, democratic government in the neighbouring country", stressing that the basic target of policy exercised by Athens is a full normalisation of relations between the two countries.

Asked to comment on recent criticism of her personally by main opposition PASOK leader and former foreign minister George Papandreou, Bakoyannis stressed that "foreign policy does not proffer itself either for manufactured disagreements or for virtual clashes".

Referring to the upcoming Congress of ruling New Democracy (ND) party next month, the foreign minister sent a message of unity while, asked whether early general elections would be called, replied that this was an issue that was exclusively under the domain of the prime minister.

Her interview appeared in the Sunday edition of the Thessaloniki-based newspaper "Macedonia".

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