Call for FYROM solution

Greece’s foreign minister, Dora Bakoyannis, has called on the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to pursue a more productive stance on the name issue dividing the two countries, as she revealed in an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini that Athens is willing to accept a compound name to resolve the matter. Tension between the two countries has been growing in recent weeks, fueled by Skopje’s decision to use the term «Republic of Macedonia» at the United Nations, and Bakoyannis said she wanted to use her interview as an opportunity to appeal to FYROM to adopt a constructive path to resolving the dispute. «Burying your head in the sand cannot be a foreign policy,» she said. «The time has come for all of us to take the necessary steps so we can be together in a better tomorrow.» Bakoyannis said the dispute over the name of Greece’s neighbor has «poisoned» the relationship between the two countries for the last 15 years. But she is adamant that Greece is doing everything it can to resolve the issue. «We are the biggest investors in the region and we have created the most jobs. «We are in a position to support Skopje politically and economically at an institutional and development level.» Bakoyannis revealed that Athens is willing to accept a compromise that would allow FYROM to use some form of the name «Macedonia» as long as there is another element in its title that differentiates it from Greece’s northern region. «A mutually acceptable solution must be in the nature of a distinct name,» said the foreign minister. «The specific country cannot be confused with the remaining geographical area of Macedonia, Greek Macedonia or the part of the region that belongs to Bulgaria.» Bakoyannis met last month with UN envoy Matthew Nimetz, who has been appointed as a mediator between the two countries, and said she is hopeful that he will soon table another proposal on how FYROM should be named. «We are ready for a proposal that will be constructive and in the right direction toward a conclusive solution.»