NEWS

NATO pushes FYROM on name

NATO’s secretary general yesterday urged the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to reach a settlement with Greece on the Macedonia name dispute by July so that it can join the Western alliance. «I would like to see that on July 9, when Albania and Croatia sign the accession protocol for NATO, we could have a third nation, yours, at the NATO table,» Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said after talks in Skopje with FYROM’s Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki. The NATO chief urged FYROM to «look ahead» and leave behind «the bitter feeling of disappointment» left behind by Greece’s veto of its bid to join NATO. But officials in Skopje still seemed upset. Milososki rebuffed an overture by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, offering a generous funding package and benefits to FYROM in return for a speedy settlement. «It’s easy for Greece to show off with European finances, but we’re not traders, we are and we will remain Macedonians and this doesn’t depend on Greek money,» he said. FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski, who also met with Scheffer, said his country was «determined to become a NATO member as soon as possible… but not at the price of its own stability.» Crvenkovski sent United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a letter yesterday protesting Greece’s veto of FYROM’s bid to join NATO. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had written to the UN chief last week clarifying Greece’s position in the dispute.