PM says ready for name deal

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has written to US and European leaders voicing his «personal readiness» to back a solution to Greece’s long-running dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over the country’s official name, the government confirmed yesterday. Excerpts from the letter appeared yesterday in the pro-opposition Ta Nea daily. Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said Karamanlis had written, on Friday and on Monday, to US President George Bush, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker – whose country holds the rotating EU presidency – and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to stress his commitment to a deal. The premier said that, while a UN proposal for FYROM to be officially known as Republika Makedonija-Skopje – untranslated – did not fully satisfy Greek positions, «Greece would be ready to enter the final stage of negotiations with a positive and constructive approach, so as to reach a mutually acceptable solution.» Skopje has rejected the UN proposal.

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