Friday, April 04, 2008

NATO Puts Off Entry for Ukraine, Georgia, Macedonia

In southeastern Europe, tensions dating back to the era of Alexander the Great wrecked a consensus to admit three countries in order to write a final chapter to the wars that ripped apart Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Name Dispute

Greece objected that Macedonia's name implied a territorial claim on the northern Greek province of the same name. Last- ditch United Nations-brokered talks failed to resolve the dispute.

``Irredentist logic belongs to the Balkans of yesterday and not to tomorrow,'' Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said. While Greece obtained its ``diplomatic objectives'' today, it wants to see its neighbor in NATO and favors a quick resumption of the UN talks, she said.

Macedonia, the only republic to break free of Yugoslavia without firing a shot, said it negotiated in good faith and accused Greece of putting regional stability at stake and tarnishing the credibility of NATO.

``Unfortunately the Greek irrelevant arguments from ancient times have won,'' Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki said. He didn't say whether the negotiations with Greece would continue.

UN Compromise

The name dispute has vexed Macedonia since independence, outlasting a tentative settlement from 1993, when the new Balkan state was admitted to the UN as ``the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.''

More than 100 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Russia and China, recognize Greece's neighbor as the Republic of Macedonia. Greece leads a minority, along with France, Germany and some others, that recognizes it only under the UN name.

Milososki said Macedonia gave a ``positive'' response to the latest UN proposal -- ``Republic of Macedonia (Skopje).'' Skopje is the country's capital. Greece objected to that name, Milososki said.

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