Thursday, July 19, 2007

Greek diplomat summoned home over Macedonia comments

ATHENS (Thomson Financial) - Greece's top diplomat to Macedonia has been summoned home to explain her suggestion Athens should give up its 15-year fight against the name of the tiny country, the foreign ministry said.

'Greece has to face the new reality, as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has been recognised under its constitutional name (Macedonia) by more than half of the members of the UN,' Dora Grosomanidou, the head of the Greek mission in Macedonia, told the Financial Times yesterday.

Greece has opposed international recognition of its neighbour under the name Macedonia since 1992 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, but the international body's attempts to reach a solution to the controversy have so far failed.

'Grosomanidou is here so that the necessary explanations can be given,' Greek foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos told reporters. 'At this point there is no talk of a recall.'

A poll in June showed most Greeks want their government to veto a future entry into NATO by Macedonia if the name dispute is not resolved.

More than 80 percent want it blocked if it seeks to enter NATO as 'Macedonia', and 61.5 percent say Athens should also veto its entry as 'Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia', said the survey published in the To Proto Thema weekly.

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