Greece to release aid for FYROM

Greece will proceed with releasing 74 million euros of economic aid to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), even though Parliament has yet to ratify the deal, the government said yesterday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said any delay in the payment – which is part of Greece’s 528-million-euro Balkan reconstruction plan – were due to practical, and not political, considerations. «The fact that the agreement has not been ratified by Parliament will not prevent its implementation,» Beglitis said. «Another 20 bilateral agreements with FYROM have not been ratified by Parliament due to the pending issue of the country’s name, but that did not stop their implementation, which helped improve bilateral relations.» On Monday, FYROM’s Vice President Radmila Sekerinska wrote to Foreign Minister George Papandreou asking for assurances as to when Greece would ratify the agreement signed by Athens and Skopje last August. She noted that Parliament had approved the release of funds to other Balkan beneficiaries on January 7.