Rally raps nationalist outbursts

Members of leftist and anti-war groups from Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) staged a rally in Skopje on Saturday, protesting outbreaks of nationalist sentiment in both countries over the Macedonia name dispute. A solution to the name dispute and to other issues that affect the Balkan region as a whole can be found through increased bilateral cooperation, not through nationalist outbursts and mistrust, the groups agreed during a public debate in FYROM’s capital. Representatives of the FYROM groups condemned the use of expansionist rhetoric in Skopje over the past weeks and claimed that certain politicians were using the Macedonia name dispute as an excuse to boost nationalist sentiment ahead of parliamentary elections, due on June 1. Stalled talks on the name issue between Greece and FYROM are due to resume after elections. FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski last week stressed that the main goal of the government elected next month would be «the intensification, as soon as possible» of negotiations.