Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bakoyannis on FYROM 'name issue'

The need for a mutually acceptable solution to a dispute between Greece and the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the so-called "name issue" -- the only difference separating the two countries -- was once again stressed by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Thursday.

Bakoyannis was replying to questions concerning a statement made the previous day by US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, a former US ambassador to Greece.

"Nobody wants to be put in the position of having to use a veto, that is why mutually acceptable solutions are needed," Bakoyannis said.

She emphasised that the goal - on the basis of UN Security Council decisions and an Interim Agreement signed by Greece and FYROM in 1995 - was to find a mutually acceptable name that would allow Skopje's unobstructed progress toward joining the European Union and NATO, with respect for good neighbour relations.

Bakoyannis also pointed out that good neighbour relations were among the fundamental criteria for all relations of partnership and alliance.

"This is Greece's goal, we are going to move in this direction on condition - I repeat - that we find a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the name," the minister said.

Bakoyannis made the statements on the sidelines of a reception she hosted on Thursday for the ambassadors and envoys of Arab countries stationed in Greece, specifically those of Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, Tunisia, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Talks at the reception focused on developments in the SE Mediterranean region, with an emphasis on the Middle East problem.

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