NEWS

Opposition asks for full story on name proposal

Opposition parties angrily requested a full briefing on last week’s United Nations proposal for a compromise on an official appellation for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, after it emerged that the UN deal could bar Greece from calling its own northern province of Macedonia by that name. On Friday, Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis briefed opposition parties on the basic content of the proposal by UN envoy for FYROM Matthew Nimetz, which involved Greece’s tiny northern neighbor being internationally recognized as Republika Makedonija-Skopje. FYROM, which was to receive the official proposal late yesterday, says that name could only apply in its bilateral relations with Greece. The minister said that, while the overall proposal contained «points that will have to be clarified and/or modified,» it would serve as a basis for negotiation. The PASOK main opposition party said it would await developments before commenting, while the Communists (KKE) and Synaspismos Left Coalition backed the proposal. But yesterday, the government refused to comment on – or deny – a report in the Vima newspaper that claimed Nimetz’s proposal included a ban on any country using the name Macedonia. «Any discussion of the excerpts that have been brought to public attention would mean accepting part of a text that cannot be made public without the consent of the person who drafted the proposal,» Foreign Ministry Spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said. He denied any cover-up, while adding that Molyviatis had only briefed party leaders on the core of the UN proposal. Koumoutsakos also promised to make the full text of the proposal available to the opposition, saying this had not been requested earlier. Meantime, PASOK leader George Papandreou was clamoring for «the real proposal,» accusing the government of only providing «a partial briefing.» KKE said any final deal «must be fully clear, and no part of it should be open to different interpretation.» Synaspismos leader Alekos Alavanos said a possible overall ban on the use of the name Macedonia was «unacceptable,» requested a copy of the text and called for the entire proposal to be made public. FYROM was formed in 1991. Athens argues that the appellation Skopje favors – the Republic of Macedonia – might imply territorial claims on the northern Greek province of Macedonia.