Macedonia not to succumb to pressure in name dispute: president

09:00, December 11, 2009      

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Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said on Thursday that his country will not accept any compromise on the name row with Greece which might violate Macedonia's national identity.

"Macedonia will not alter its constitution in order to change its constitutional name (of Macedonia)," Ivanov said on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day in Skopje on Thursday.

Greece has long been opposed to its northern neighbor being called Macedonia, arguing that the name implies that Macedonia has territorial demands over a Greek northern province of the same name.

Greece vetoed Macedonia's NATO aspirations last year and threatened to block Macedonia's entry into the European Union if a mutually acceptable compromise on the 18-year-long name dispute can't be reached.

EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday postponed a decision on opening accession talks with Macedonia due to the Greek opposition, saying the issue would not be discussed again until the Spanish EU presidency which runs from Jan. 1 to June 30,2010.

Ivanov stressed that Macedonia wouldn't succumb to any pressure to strip itself of its rights for self-determination and self-identification, which are stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"This is the essence of human rights and the free world. No one should deny the identity of the Macedonian people, and our pride and dignity should not be played with," Ivanov said.

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