Macedonia urges Greece to take realistic approach on name dispute

13:45, December 03, 2009      

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Macedonia's foreign minister on Wednesday demanded Greece adopt "realism" towards his country's accession to the European Union during the bloc's upcoming summit.

It would be counterproductive for bilateral relations if Greece blocked Macedonia's EU drive due to the name dispute, Antonio Milososki told reporters after meetings with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsason the sidelines of the 17th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"Blocking is not a part of a solution," he said.

Athens objects to the neighboring Skopje government using the name Macedonia, saying it implies territorial claims on a Greek province carrying the same name.

Milososki reaffirmed that he proposed initiatives to the new Greek government that "will improve relations between the two neighbor countries", such as the upgrading of diplomatic ties and the signing of a deal to facilitate Greek investments in Macedonia.

Macedonia also ask Droutsas to visit Skopje by the end of this year when Athens holds the OSCE rotating chairmanship.

According to diplomatic sources, the Greek side is considering the proposals.

Concerning the name dispute, Droutsas told media that "Athens is seeking contacts with the aim of cementing a positive climate between the two countries, but the only process for negotiations on this matter remains under the U.N. auspices".

There have been ongoing efforts by the two countries to negotiate a solution for years, but Athens blocked Macedonia's accession to NATO last year and threatens to do the same at the upcoming EU summit.

Source: Xinhua
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