Skopje pushes land claims

Skopje’s parliament yesterday adopted a resolution seeking the return of properties supposedly lost by citizens of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) who left Greece during the Greek civil war. The issue was broached in recent letters sent by FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski to his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis and to senior officials of the United Nations and European Union. Gruevski yesterday said any agreement between Athens and Skopje in name talks would be put to a referendum, a prospect Greece has rejected out of hand. Meanwhile the US Embassy in Skopje refuted reports that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was to intervene in the name row, saying Washington fully backs talks mediated by United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz. In a related development, Gruevski responded abruptly to criticism by FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski regarding the former’s insistence on a dual name solution.