Macedonia Leader: Greece Can't Force Deal
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Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski13 May 2008 Skopje _ There will be no solution to the name dispute if Greece uses pressure, Macedonias President has told European envoys in the country.
At the meeting of ambassadors from European Union countries, Branko Crvenkovski pointed out that recent incidents involving abuse being hurled at Macedonian citizens in Greece is not helping the effort to find a solution to the long-running row.
We have a series of incidents in Greece in which victims of violence and humiliation are the citizens of Macedonia, Crvenkovski said, warning that If the position of power is applied for imposing a solution that would jeopardize our national identity and the dignity of our people, there will be no solution.
On Monday Macedonia protested to Greece after recent reports of abuse against Macedonian truck drivers on Greek roads.
The drivers were allegedly stopped by unknown groups while transiting Greece and under the threat of violence were forced to remove any vehicle markings with the letters MK. They were then verbally abused and filmed with cell phone cameras. Read more: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/10110/
Crvenkovski reiterated Skopjes willingness to accept a reasonable compromise and a fair solution. He said Macedonia stays committed to the ongoing United Nations-sponsored talks between the two neighbours that have been ongoing for 15 years.
Relations between the two countries sunk to a new low in April after Greece vetoed Macedonias invitation to join NATO due to the unresolved name row. Athens is pressing Skopje to stop using the name Republic of Macedonia claiming it implies Skopjes territorial claims to Greeces own northern province of the same name. Read more at http://balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/9100
During the recent two months the row has stalled most of the tourist traffic between the two countries and also affected trade ties. Trains from Macedonias national railway company, Macedonian Railroads and the national air carrier Macedonian Airlines have been banned from entering Greek territory.
On the other side, Greek companies operating in Macedonia are seeing an increasing boycott of their products by Macedonia citizens.
It is expected that the UN talks will be additionally delayed due to the snap polls set in Macedonia for June 1. Read more at http://balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/9347