Greek Envoy Rebuffs Macedonia Complaints
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Skopje14 May 2008 Skopje _ The abuse of Macedonian truckers in Greece are individual incidents which do not reflect Athens policy, Greeces envoy to Skopje claims.
The cases should be solved discreetly, Greek ambassador Alexandra Papadopoulou told Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski at the meeting of European Ambassadors in Skopje on Tuesday.
She said Greek police are already investigating the cases but pointed out that the probes would have been more efficient if the truckers had reported the incidents while still in Greece.
Last week Macedonian police received a series of reports from returning truck drivers from Greece that they were allegedly stopped by unknown groups on Greek highways and under the threat of violence were forced to remove any vehicle markings with the letters MK while being filmed and verbally abused.
On Monday Skopje officially protested to Athens and Crvenkovski condemned the incident during a meeting with EU ambassadors in Macedonia saying that a solution to the long standing name row between the two countries can not be reached by applying power and pressure from Greece.
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.
The 15 year-long United Nations sponsored talks between the two neighbours have so far been in vain.