Bush backs consensus on FYROM

A rapprochement between Athens and Washington seemed possible yesterday in the wake of the US decision on November 4 to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) simply as the «Republic of Macedonia.» Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis received a letter from President George W. Bush explaining that the US decided to change its official designation to aid regional stability ahead of a crucial referendum in Greece’s neighboring state on the rights of its Albanian minority. Bush pledged to support negotiations between FYROM and Greece, under the auspices of the UN, to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the naming of the Balkan country. He wrote that the US would be happy to recognize the state by the agreed title. Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis also spoke to US Secretary of State-elect Condoleezza Rice over the phone and is expected to visit Washington in January. Meanwhile, Albanian President Alfred Moisiu was quoted by the Athens News Agency as saying Albania might well soon recognize FYROM as the «Republic of Macedonia.»