NEWS

Greece and FYROM renew deal

Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have renewed an interim agreement between them and will continue to look for a commonly acceptable permanent name for FYROM. Greece’s northern neighbor was admitted to the United Nations with its temporary name after the two countries signed an interim agreement in September 1995 that ended a Greek blockade but left open some issues, such as the name. Although Athens and Skopje now enjoy good relations, seven years of UN mediation have not led to a satisfactory compromise on the name. Athens says that the name «Macedonia» belongs to a northern province of Greece and that its use by Skopje usurps Greek history and implies territorial claims. The agreement was to expire today. But government spokesman Christos Protopappas said it had been renewed. «The interim agreement will apply for another year. The process is renewed automatically,» he said. «We are ready to negotiate to solve this problem in the context of the interim agreement. We could also discuss a composite name, if we agreed to it.» Karamanlis’s address at the Thessaloniki International Fair tomorrow is the right time for launching a substantial counterattack. ND has to inaugurate the opening of a new opposition term; a term where conservative discourse is not spent merely on rebuffing government achievements but on stressing what ND would have done instead or what it will do, should it come to power. Besides, that would be the best way of showing the ruling Socialists’ handicaps.