NEWS

Skopje sabotaging talks, FM says

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis yesterday accused the prime minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Nikola Gruevski, of intentionally sabotaging talks aimed at resolving the Macedonia name dispute by sending a letter to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis demanding the recognition of a supposed «Macedonian minority» in Greece. «What Mr Gruevski is trying to do is undermine negotiations which have been conducted according to very specific conditions,» Bakoyannis said. She was speaking after an Inner Cabinet session during which ministers discussed how the government should respond to the «highly provocative» letter from Gruevski, which also calls for rights to be granted to current citizens of FYROM who left Greece during the civil war. According to sources, Karamanlis is preparing a «stern response» to the letter which will probably be sent tomorrow. Earlier yesterday, Greece’s representative Adamantios Vassilakis met in New York with United Nations official Matthew Nimetz who is mediating in talks aimed at breaking the name deadlock. Gruevski’s letter is widely regarded as a serious setback to the progress of these talks. Yesterday, opposition PASOK’s shadow minister for foreign policy, Andreas Loverdos, said the government should not accord respect to Gruevski’s letter with a direct response but rather send its reply to the FYROM leader via the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. But, according to government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, «failing to respond to such a provocation would be allowing a challenge against historical truth to go unanswered.»