NEWS

Merkel quote irks Athens

The Greek ambassador to Germany, Anastassios Kriekoukis, yesterday asked for clarification from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office after she seemed to accuse Athens of «old-fashioned thinking» in blocking the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s effort to join NATO. «I stick to my position that we must incorporate the European democracies who want to and are in a position to contribute to our security,» said Merkel in a speech ahead of NATO’s 60th anniversary summit on April 3-4 in France and Germany. «We must not allow others to attempt to deter this through a veto and because of an old-fashioned way of thinking in their spheres of influence.» Athens took this to be a reference to Greece’s veto of FYROM’s membership but Merkel’s aides informed Kriekoukis that the chancellor had not been referring to Greece but to Russia and its stance toward the possible NATO membership of Georgia and Ukraine.