Saturday, February 16, 2008

US puts name on table

The United States has proposed that Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) settle on the name “New Republic of Macedonia” for Athens’s neighbor, sources told Kathimerini yesterday.

The proposal was made during talks that Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had with State Department officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Washington yesterday.

Washington has proposed that the name New Republic of Macedonia should be used by Skopje in all its dealings with international organizations, according to sources.

Athens could then, theoretically, press for the name to be used in all of its neighbor’s bilateral relations.

Greece is insistent that any composite name for the Balkan country should be used in FYROM’s bilateral relations and Bakoyannis took the opportunity to press on the USA that it would have to follow suit as well.

Athens is likely to make the same demands of its European Union partners and members of the United Nations Security Council.

Washington’s proposal is likely to form the basis of discussions between Bakoyannis and UN mediator Matthew Nimetz, who is due in Athens on Monday as diplomatic pressure grows for a solution to be found to the name issue.

Rice also met with FYROM Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki this week and,

according to State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, she impressed upon him the need for greater “flexibility” opposite Greece during their talks in Washington on Tuesday. Rice reportedly pressed the FYROM diplomat “to participate fully in the procedure (to find a new name) under the aegis of the United Nations special envoy (Matthew Nimetz).”

Earlier, Bakoyannis sought to clarify Greece’s position during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank. Bakoyannis noted that Washington’s earlier recognition of FYROM as “Macedonia” was a mistake as it gave Skopje the impression that it did not need to make any effort to negotiate with Athens to find a mutually acceptable solution to the name dispute. Bakoyannis said Greece would “fully support” FYROM in its bid to join NATO, but only once an agreement has been reached.

No comments: