Council of Europe chief hopes name issue not to endanger Macedonia's chairmanship

10:27, April 13, 2010      

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The head of the Council of Europe has said that he hoped the name row between Macedonia and Greece will not jeopardize Macedonia's chairmanship of the council's committee, news from Skopje reported Monday.

Macedonia is going to take over the chairmanship of the Council of Europe's committee of ministers between May and November this year.

"The only thing I can say at this time is that I hope the chairmanship will not put the name issue in the forefront," Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland told Deutsche Welle-Macedonian Program on his visit to Macedonia.

Jagland called on Macedonia and Greece to adopt a pragmatic approach towards the name issue that has been dogging the two neighbors for the past 19 years.

"My message to you, your people and the Greek leaders is that one has to be pragmatic and work in the interest of the county's citizens," Jagland.

Greece has been opposed to its northern neighbor using the name of Macedonia, arguing that the name implies territorial claims against its own northern province, also called Macedonia.

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