PM firm ahead of FYROM proposal

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday sent a stern message to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to cooperate with Greece in solving a dispute about the country’s official name ahead of today’s scheduled proposal for a compromise by a United Nations envoy. «Persistent intransigence and stances that ignore historical fact do not help build good neighborly relations,» Karamanlis said in a speech before ruling New Democracy’s central committee. «It is decision time,» he added. His comments came ahead of a proposal, to be made public at 4 p.m. today, by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz, who has been entrusted with mediating in the name dispute. According to a report in yesterday’s Ethnos newspaper, Nimetz will herald a new – and final – round of talks on the issue on the ambassadorial level, due to begin on November 1. It was unclear what might be proposed by Nimetz, who in April 2005 suggested the composite name Republika Makedonja-Skopje, which was accepted by Athens but rejected by Skopje. According to the results of a survey published in Ethnos yesterday, 58.3 percent of Greeks believe Greece should veto FYROM’s bid to join NATO if it insists on using the name «Republic of Macedonia.» In a related development on Saturday, a 150-member FYROM sports team walked out of a youth athletics competition in northern Greece after objecting to being introduced as coming from FYROM.