Ire at Solana nod to FYROM

Athens yesterday reacted angrily to an assertion by the European Union foreign affairs chief, Javier Solana, that suggested Greece should avoid using its veto against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) if the Macedonia name dispute remains unsolved. «I don’t like vetoes,» Solana said when questioned by reporters regarding a possible attempt by Greece to block FYROM’s bids to join the EU and NATO. Solana’s comments followed his talks with FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski in Brussels. The office of Greece’s permanent representative in Brussels lodged an official complaint with Solana’s office, while Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis requested a meeting with him. Meanwhile, expressing clear annoyance at Solana’s comments, the ministry’s spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos remarked, «No one likes vetoes, this is why problems need to be solved in a mutually acceptable way.» «Intransigent logic and tensions which betray,often unproductive arrogance should be avoided,» Koumoutsakos added. The United Nations’ special mediator between Greece and FYROM told last Sunday’s Kathimerini that Skopje’s bid to join NATO could be a vital catalyst to solve the name dispute. «NATO and the EU are very important priorities for Skopje,» he said. The European Commission is expected to present a progress report on candidate state FYROM next month, probably on November 6. Also next month a NATO delegation is scheduled to visit FYROM in order to assess the country’s progress in meeting EU-oriented criteria. NATO sources have told Kathimerini that FYROM has not yet fulfilled sufficient criteria to join the alliance.