NEWS

Athens points to veto on FYROM

The government said yesterday that it may block the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) from joining international bodies if it tries to do so under a new name, while hinting at a possible referendum on the issue. «The Greek government and people reserve the right to block the participation in any international organization should this be attempted under a name other than FYROM,» the Foreign Ministry said. The statement followed FYROM’s Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski’s nod to a new United Nations-backed proposal to resolve a longstanding dispute with Greece over the country’s official name; he called it a “good basis for a solution.» Athens on Saturday rejected the proposal as unacceptable and yesterday accused UN mediator Matthew Nimetz of bias. According to press sources in Skopje, Nimetz’s new proposal is based on the concurrent use of three names. FYROM is to be called the Republic of Macedonia by countries which have recognized it as such, Republika Makedonija-Skopje by Greece, and Republika Makedonija by international organizations until 2008 after which the name Republic of Macedonia will apply. But the most controversial issue is thought to be a demand that Greece rename its region of Macedonia which borders FYROM (suggestions purportedly include the northern Greek area of Macedonia or the Greek region of Macedonia). In April, Nimetz’s proposal of the name Republika Makedonija-Skopje for FYROM had been embraced by Athens but rejected by Skopje.