Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sarkozy urges Macedonia to redouble efforts to solve name dispute with Greece

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has written to his Macedonian counterpart voicing support for his country's bid to join NATO and the EU.

But Sarkozy is urging Branko Crvenkovski to end a long-running dispute with Greece over his country's name. The dispute prompted Greece — with French backing — to veto Macedonia's bid to join NATO in April.

"Macedonia is fully qualified to join NATO, but it should resolve the name dispute with Greece beforehand," Sarkozy says in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press Wednesday.

Greece says its neighbor's name implies claims on the northern Greek province of Macedonia. Skopje denies that.

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