NEWS

Gruevski writes to UN mediator

Athens yesterday described as «hysterical» a letter sent by Nikola Gruevski, the prime minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), to the United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz in the Macedonia name dispute which calls for the recognition of the so-called Macedonian Orthodox Church and the renaming of Thessaloniki’s Macedonia airport to be discussed in negotiations. «The FYROM premier’s letter surpasses the limits of diplomacy and borders on nationalistic hysteria, which is bad for his people,» Greece’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Giorgos Koumoutsakos remarked yesterday. The letter is the latest in a series of notes sent out by Gruevski to officials of the UN, NATO and the European Union as well as government leaders. According to media in Skopje, which published extracts of the letter yesterday, Gruevski blames the strained ties between FYROM’s church and the churches of Greece and Serbia on Greece’s stance on the name issue. Gruevski notes that he would not not have written to Nimetz about the church issue «if there was a distinction in Greece between the Church and the State.» The FYROM premier also protests against Thessaloniki calling its international airport Macedonia, after the region in which it is located, maintaining that this creates confusion. «We do not feel very pleased when thousands of confused tourists ask why our neighbor is using our country’s name for its airport in Thessaloniki,» Gruevski remarks. The FYROM premier’s letter came to light just a few days before Nimetz had been due to meet representatives from Greece and FYROM in New York. Talks had been due to start tomorrow but will start today, UN officials said yesterday without giving a reason for the change in schedule. There had been no response from Nimetz to Gruevski’s appeals by late yesterday.