FM waves veto card at FYROM

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis yesterday told her NATO counterparts that Greece would veto a bid by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to join the alliance if the neighboring country does not help resolve a dispute over its name. Addressing a Brussels debate on NATO enlargement, Bakoyannis said, «The policy of our neighboring country does not allow us to take the same positive view as with Albania and Croatia.» Greece’s FM blamed FYROM’s «intransigence» and «nationalistic and expansionist stance» which, she said, «has left us with no choice.» However, she added, it was not too late for progress. «I hope there is still time to reach a mutually acceptable, practical solution to be implemented immediately,» she said. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she hoped Greece and FYROM «will reach a solution,» noting that the Balkan state «ought to be admitted» to NATO. NATO’s Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer reiterated his view that the dispute involves «a country that is a NATO member and a country that is not.» European Union Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, who met with FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in Skopje yesterday, encouraged the Balkan nation to work «with a constructive outlook» toward settling on a new name. Meanwhile, FYROM’s government has been working to promote its NATO bid. A two-page advertisement in Britain’s The Times newspaper yesterday listed 30 reasons why FYROM would make a good NATO member. The advert features photographs of FYROM troops serving in Afghanistan. Similar adverts are due to run in other foreign newspapers today.

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