Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bakoyannis: Road to NATO, EU via mutually acceptable solution to name issue

"Skopje has only one road to NATO and EU - compliance with the principle of good neighborly relations and this includes a mutually acceptable solution to name issue," Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said.

Bakoyannis' statement came hours before the meeting with the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Radio Voice of America's Macedonian news said.

Bakoyannis said Greece supports NATO enlargement and it reckons that Albania and Croatia made progress. As regards Macedonia's NATO bid, Bakoyannis voiced quite opposite stands, saying "Skopje runs a nationalist, anachronistic policy and it tries to monopolize Macedonian identity."

"Our neighbors use a 19th century vocabulary and they hope to be understood in 21st century. This is not a matter of political psychology and massive sentiment, but a matter of regional stability," Bakoyannis said in Washington.

Asked to comment the statement by Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki, who said that NATO has nothing to do with naming countries but a lot more, Bakoyannis replied:

"We don't demand from Minister Milososki and Prime Minister Gruevski to try to interpret what NATO is. We just want them to remain attached to the pledges and under NATO mediation to try in constructive way to resolve the name issue, which would let us look into the future," she added.

When asked what Greece does for the rights of Macedonian minority in northern Greece, Bakoyannis made clear that in Greece there is only one minority, the Muslim minority. She added that Greece provides the religious and all other rights.

Bakoyannis stressed Greece's share in the economic development of the region as a modality of political stability. She claimed Greece had invested over 20 billion euros in the region and it's a major investor in Albania, Macedonia and Serbia.

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