Thursday, December 27, 2007

Macedonia urges Greece to drop accession threat over name dispute

Macedonia linked Greece's threat to using its veto right to block Macedonia's NATO bid to the use of nuclear weapon on Tuesday, news reaching here from Skopje reported.

"To have the right of veto is the same as having the right to a nuclear weapon. I believe Greece is a serious country, and it will think twice before leap," Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki said.

Greece has threatened to use its NATO-member status to veto Macedonia's accession efforts at the NATO's next spring summit in Bucharest, Romania, if there is no agreement on the name issue by then.

The name dispute between Macedonia and Greece broke out shortly after Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Greece has said the country's name, the Republic of Macedonia, implies a territorial claim over the northern Greek province of Macedonia and could destabilize the region.

Instead, it asks Macedonia to use the name of "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" or FYROM in short, under which the country joined the U.N. in 1993, otherwise Greece would block Macedonia's NATO and European Union aspirations.

U.N. special envoy Matthew Nimetz announced at the beginning of this month that new meetings between the two countries' negotiators are set to take place early next year in the two countries' capitals, with the first in Skopje and the second in Athens shortly after.

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