Monday, June 11, 2007

Greeks want veto on Macedonia's entry into NATO, poll shows

Athens. Greeks want their government to veto a future entry into NATO by Macedonia if a 15-year dispute over the tiny country's name is not resolved, according to an opinion poll published Sunday.
Over 80 percent of Greeks want their neighbour's NATO prospects blocked if it seeks to enter the alliance as 'Macedonia', and 61.5 percent say Athens should also veto an entry request as 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia', or FYROM, said the survey published in the To Proto Thema weekly.
Macedonia on June 3 said it would accept becoming a NATO member as FYROM as a temporary solution to the naming controversy, AFP reported.
Greece has since 1992 opposed international recognition of the neighbouring country under the name Macedonia because it considers the name part of Greek heritage. There is a northern Greek province with the same name.
Macedonia joined the UN in 1993 as FYROM.
UN attempts to reach a solution to the controversy have so far failed.
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Sunday discussed the issue with US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, who is on a three-day working visit.
The discussion centred on the fact that Croatia has "adhered to its commitments and reform requirements" to join NATO, while FYROM and Albania have "a long way to go", a Greek diplomatic source said.
FYROM's entry into NATO "is not a current issue, the discussion has not opened yet," the official said.
"Every country is judged according to its own performance, and one particular country cannot hold others back."
US President George W. Bush, who is on a tour of Eastern Europe and arrived in Albania on Sunday, will meet the prime ministers of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia in Tirana to discuss NATO's membership enlargement.
NATO is expected to raise the matter next spring, Burns said before flying to Greece.

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