Thursday, August 21, 2008

Adding Church to Macedonia Talks “Counterproductive”

Macedonia's President dismissed the Prime Minister's initiative to add the issue of the Macedonian Orthodox Church to the "name" talks between Athens and Skopje as counterproductive.

"We are giving Greece a reason to think that Macedonia is opening new questions and that it wishes to block the negotiations," President Branko Crvenkovski said on Thursday.

Crvenkovski said a solution to the row over recognition of the Macedonian Church should be sought within the frameworks of current talks between the Macedonian and Serbian Orthodox churches. The Serbian Orthodox Church has refused to recognise the independent status of the Church in Macedonia, blocking its wider recognition in to the Orthodox world.

Macedonia’s Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, argues that the real problem lies within the Greek Church, and that the Serbian Church is only acting as a satellite Athens.

On Tuesday, Gruevski sent a letter to the UN mediator in the “name” row asking him to put the church issue into the negotiations with Greece about Macedonia’s name

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