Macedonia says committed to resolving name row with Greece

11:28, October 30, 2009      

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Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said that Macedonia will remain committed to settling the name row with Greece, local media reported on Thursday.

"We will do everything in our power to soon come to a solution," Gruevski said Wednesday in Brussels after meeting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, pointing out that it was up to both parties involved to make positive steps towards a solution.

Solana on his part opposed Gruevski's idea to hold a name referendum in his own country should both sides agree on a compromise Macedonia name.

"I don't think [in] parliamentary democracies the referendum is the best solution," Solana said. "Look at our experience," he added, referring to the complications the Irish referenda caused for the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

The previous Greek government last year blocked Macedonia's NATO accession pending a resolution on the 18-year-long name issue. The Kostas Karamnlis government also threatened to block the country from becoming an EU member.

Athens insisted that Skopje's formal name, Republic of Macedonia implies territorial claims towards its own northern province which is also called Macedonia.

The election of the George Papandreou government last month has raised hopes for a possible breakthrough in the ongoing UN brokered talks between the two neighbors.

Local observers explain that efforts are being made to push both sides towards some kind of solution prior to the December EU council. Macedonia expects to get a date for start of its EU accession talks.

For that to happen all 27 EU member states including Greece have to vote in favor. Athens tied its positive vote to a solution of the name row.

Source: Xinhua
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