FYROM sues Greece over NATO bid veto

The government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) yesterday filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice in The Hague, accusing Greece of breaching a United Nations-backed bilateral agreement aimed at fostering good-neighborly relations with its veto of Skopje’s bid to join NATO at an alliance summit in April. According to a statement published on the website of FYROM’s Foreign Ministry, Greece’s veto was «a flagrant violation of its obligations under the interim accord.» «We hope this action might encourage Greece to bring its actions into compliance with its international legal obligations, and that it might also encourage… a final settlement on outstanding issues in the spirit of good-neighborliness envisaged by the Interim Accord,» FYROM’s Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki said. He said he could «see no other way for justice to be done and our rights to be protected.» A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry in Athens said Skopje’s move proved that the Balkan state was not committed to dialogue. «With this lawsuit, the Skopje government confirms yet again that it is not interested in the quick resolution of the name issue,» said ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos. He said it was Skopje that had «blatantly violated a series of fundamental obligations foreseen by the pact and the fundamental principle of good-neighborly relations.» Meanwhile in Skopje, FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski, who has clashed with FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski over the latter’s intransigent stance on the name issue, distanced himself from the initiative. «With this action, and with their behavior in name talks, Gruevski and his administration take full responsibility for solving the dispute and for the success or failure of (Skopje’s) bid to join the EU and NATO,» said Crvenkovski.