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Macedonia to hold consultations on resolving name issue
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10:15, April 06, 2008

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Macedonia's top officials said on Saturday they will launch wide-range consultations on finding an appropriate solution to the name dispute with Greece, news reaching here from Skopje reported.

"I will call a meeting of top officials and a parliament session next week, and launch wide-range consultations on how to resolve the name issue," Macedonia's President Branko Crvenkovski said.

Macedonia's NATO membership ambition has been thwarted after its entry into the alliance was vetoed by Greece at the alliance's Bucharest summit last week.

NATO has invited Albania and Croatia to join the alliance, delaying membership invitation for Macedonia until some deal can be reached on the name issue between Macedonia and Greece.

Athens opposes to the name of "Republic of Macedonia," arguing that it might lead Macedonia to make territorial claims over its own northern province which is called the same name.

"After we have got a united stance on the issue at home, along with foreign commitment, we should try to realize what we all want to achieve," Crvenkovski said after meeting U.S. President George W. Bush in Zagreb, Croatia.

Macedonia's Prime Minster Nikola Gruevski said he also believed it is necessary to hold thorough consultations first, and then make appropriate decisions on the name issue.

"We need to calm down after this kind of things happened, we will take steps next week and hold wide-range consultations with experts and people from all walks of life," said Gruevski who accompanied the president at the meeting.

U.S. President Bush said in his speech in Zagreb on Saturday that Macedonia should become a part of NATO as soon as possible.

"I regret that Macedonia did not obtain a NATO invitation. The American stance is clear. This country must acquire the invitation as soon as possible. NATO unites all regional countries," said Bush.

Source: Xinhua

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