Tough talk on FYROM name issue

Athens formally warned the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) yesterday that it will not allow the country to join the EU or NATO under the name «Republic of Macedonia,» which the US has decided to use for Greece’s northern neighbor. Washington’s move, at the beginning of this month, caused deep anger in Athens which has fought for 13 years to block Skopje’s use of a name that could imply territorial claims on the northern Greek province of Macedonia. A Foreign Ministry statement yesterday said a senior ministry official had informed FYROM’s top diplomat in Athens, Blagoje Handjinski, that «it is not possible» for FYROM to join the European Union or NATO as the «Republic of Macedonia.» The Greek official also stressed that Skopje would have to «display the necessary political will» to accelerate a bilateral process on finding a mutually acceptable name for FYROM. Meanwhile, Greece is to protest to Tirana over Thursday’s reported assertion, by Albanian President Alfred Moisiu, that Albania may well recognize FYROM as the «Republic of Macedonia.»