Monday, August 11, 2008

Greek Olympic committee protests over Macedonia name entry

Greece said Friday it had filed a complaint with the Beijing Olympic committee over the use of the name ""Macedonia"" in relation to Skopje's entry to the Olympic Games on its official website.

Greece and its northern neighbor are locked in a bitter dispute over the right to use the name ""Macedonia,"" which applies to both the former Yugoslav state and a northern Greek province.

Athens claims that Skopje's use of the name implies territorial ambitions beyond its existing borders.

""There has been an official protest to the Bocog president, Liu Qi, and the vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Lambis Nikolaou, has raised the issue with the IOC chief Jacques Rogge,"" Greek Olympic committee head Minos Kyriakou said in a statement.

Macedonia, which gained independence in 1991, was made a member of the United Nations in 1993 under the temporary name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Subsequent negotiations on the name dispute, under UN auspices, have so far been fruitless.

In Skopje after the opening ceremony, the Macedonian government urged Athens to back off.

""The government of the Republic of Macedonia is appealing on Greece to leave politics out of sport fields,"" the Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Bocevski told reporters in Skopje.

""We appeal (to) our southern neighbor to let the spirit of Olympics and sport competitions to find its place at the Olympic Games in Beijing. The disputes we have are bilateral ones and are being solved through usual forums and dialogues,"" Bocevski said.

More than 120 states have recognized the former Yugoslav republic under the name ""The Republic of Macedonia,"" including China, Russia, the United States and Turkey, although no European Union member has.


Anonymous said...

How ironic - the originators of the Olympics are out of touch with the Olympic spirit. The Greeks have completely lost the concept of honor and respect! What a bunch of cry babies. The Greek team should pack its bags and go back to Athens! It's not like the Greeks are going to win any medals anyway. Who wants to compete against a bunch of whiners!

Anonymous said...

Greece would hands down win Gold Medals if there was a Cry Baby competition.