FYROM bid to bypass Athens on name spat

An attempt by Gjorge Ivanov, the president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where ethnic strife reignited over the weekend, to blame Greece for the Balkan nation’s stalled efforts to join international alliances has not surprised Greek diplomats, Kathimerini understands.

Ivanov’s aim is to attract the attention of the European Union and NATO so that political decisions are taken for FYROM’s accession to alliances, according to diplomatic sources. The move is an attempt to broach a dispute between Greece and FYROM over the latter’s official name and to put Athens under pressure to reach a quick solution, the sources say.

In comments on Sunday, Ivanov urged the EU to start accession talks that have been blocked since FYROM became a candidate in 2005 due to the name row with Greece. “I demand the international community, the EU and NATO get involved with the greatest seriousness and unlock our Euro-Atlantic integration,” he said. Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Constantinos Koutras called on FYROM authorities to focus on «serious problems… that have to do with the functioning of rule of law… respect for the principle of good-neighborly relations, and the country’s democratic deficit… rather than looking for scapegoats and blaming others for the impasse in their Euro-Atlantic perspective.”

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