Monday, April 07, 2008

EU urges Macedonia to find solution in name dispute

The Slovenian EU presidency urged Macedonia on Saturday to make progress in finding a solution in the dispute over the Balkan country's name. The EU "regretted" that the negotiations over the future name of the EU candidate country had not led to a solution, Slovenia, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said in a statement.

The presidency urged the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) not to to lose sight of its strategic goal of joining the EU and NATO, which was "essential for the country's future, as well as of great importance for the entire region."

"Talks should now be resumed without delay, with the aim of being concluded sooner rather than later," Slovenia said.

Greece and Macedonia have been in dispute over the latter's name since 1991, when Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia. Greece says that the name implies a territorial claim on its own northern province, also called Macedonia.

Leading politicians from both Macedonia's government and opposition were urged to continue efforts to pursue Euro-Atlantic integration before the upcoming progress report in the autumn, in order for accession negotiations to be opened later this year.

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