Sunday, November 04, 2007

Australia won't change name policy

Australian has no plans to formally recognize Macedonia by its constitutional name, Australian Prime Minister Alexander Downer said on Monday.

In an interview for The Age newspaper, Downer said he was aware of reports saying the Australian government might be considering changing its policy of using the name of the country.

"These reports are incorrect... The Australian government has no such plans," Downer said in a statement.

He added that Australia's use of the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) remained consistent with UN guidelines and was a temporary measure pending a resolution of the issue between governments in Athens and Skopje.

"We call on the governments in Athens and Skopje to work together to resolve their differences on this issue, in cooperation with United Nations negotiators," he said.

Several thousands of Macedonians rallied Sunday in front of parliament in Canberra, urging the Australian authorities to recognize Macedonia by its constitutional name.

Australia recognized Macedonia by provisional reference FYROM in 1994.

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