Monday, August 11, 2008

Athens willing to negotiate only name dispute, not Macedonian minority

Athens doesn't accept to negotiate with Skopje for issues other than the name dispute, Greek newspapers write Wednesday, commenting the forthcoming fresh round of Macedonia-Greece talks in New York, the first one after Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski has sent letters to several international organisations and representatives in which he emphasised the existence of a Macedonian minority in Greece.

"Naftemboriki" reports the statement given by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis that solely the name and its application is the focal point of the negotiations being led under UN auspices. The newspaper pinpoints that Gruevski has sent letters to EU, NATO, UN, OSCE, the Council of Europe and to G-8 countries. It is Skopje's planned tactics for incorporating the issue of the Macedonian minority in Greece into the UN-brokered name talks, estimates "Naftemboriki".

Athens is alarmed that Skopje could press the talks to cover the minority issue and therefore it wants to warn mediator Matthew Nimetz on time not to expand the meeting's agenda, reports "Ethnos". Greece, it adds, says no progress is expected from the new round of talks, scheduled on August 14-15.

"Ta Nea" daily, citing diplomatic sources, states "the situation is not very favourable" and the outcome of the coming meeting between Nimetz and countries' negotiators, Nikola Dimitrov and Adamantios Vassilakis, is widely anticipated.

Moreover, "Elefteros Typos" says Greece's MoFA conducts a name dispute tactics of "not even a step backwards", whilst "Kathemirini" daily stresses Greece has the backing of France, the current EU presidency holder, regarding the issue.

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