Trajkovski: Name issue to end in 2002

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Boris Trajkovski of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia appealed Monday for private US investment in his country, saying he did not want to become «addicted» to aid and predicted an end this year to a quarrel with Greece over his country’s name. Trajkovski, on a one-week trip to the United States to drum up support for his cash-strapped government, made the comments after meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell as part of discussions with other officials here. Deputy State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said Powell had reiterated the US commitment to supporting FYROM as part of its overall strategy to promote stability in the Balkans and noted that $50 million had been earmarked for economic assistance to the country next year. It was not immediately clear if that money would be part of the contribution to FYROM that the USA would pledge at a donors conference next month. Trajkovski, who is also meeting with officials from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, also said he was optimistic that FYROM’s long-running battle with Greece over its name would soon be over. «We raised the name issue (with Powell),» he said. «It is not only a name issue, but a stability issue. Our country has the right to (decide) what we call ourselves, I expect this issue will be solved this year.» Since 1991, Greece has refused to allow its northern neighbor to use Macedonia as the country’s official name, claiming that such a term refers solely to territory in Greece. It became a UN member in 1993 as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), following Greek objections to the name «Macedonia.»

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