Bush’s plans worry Athens

During his tour of the Balkans in June, President Bush is expected to state Washington’s desire for FYROM to join NATO and for the name issue to be resolved by fall. US pressure to close the issue, along with the stalemate reached in Nimetz’s efforts due to the intransigence of FYROM’s leadership, has led to increasing concern in Athens. According to sources, the government realizes there is a very real danger that the UN could recognize the «Republic of Macedonia.» If Nimetz surrenders his mandate in September and FYROM goes to the Security Council, government and diplomatic circles warn that the outcome will not favor Greece. Therefore, several ministers are recommending elections in September before that can happen. Others fear that going to the polls over the issue will annoy Washington, which will see it as sparking national rivalries in the region, and could boost the LAOS party of Giorgos Karatzaferis, which the government wants to avoid for a number of reasons.