Greece does not recognize Macedonia?
Greece protests US move of recognizing Macedonia
www.chinaview.cn 2004-11-05 03:55:14
ATHENS, Nov. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Greece on Thursday sharply protesteda US decision to recognize the former Yugoslav state on its northern border as "Macedonia", the same name as a northern Greek province where Alexander the Great was born.
Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, who canceled his tripto an EU summit in Brussels, summoned the US ambassador Thomas Miller to express Athens' anger with the US move, a few hours before US officials publicly confirmed the change.
"I pointed out to the US ambassador the multiple, negative repercussions that this unilateral decision by the American government will have," Molyviatis told reporters.
The United States has recognized the "Republic of Macedonia" asthe name of what has been provisionally known as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM), to reward Skopje for its commitment to multi-ethnic democracy.
It was widely seen as support for a critical referendum Sunday in which Macedonians vote on EU and US-supported legislation to empower the country's ethnic-Albanian minority, amid fears of a return to ethnic clashes in the former Yugoslav republic.
Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski hailed Washington's decision as a "victory".
"This is a great day for Macedonia," he said. "This is a victory that the United States has recognized Macedonia under her constitutional name."
However, Greece has opposed the adoption of the name since the republic won independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Until now it had the support of all NATO allies, except Turkey, for refusing recognition.
Greece has long contested Skopje's use of "Macedonia" on grounds that it carries territorial claims on its northern province, the birthplace of Alexander the Great which carries the same name.
Athens insists the name "Macedonia" is part of Greek heritage and objects to it being used by the former Yugoslav republic.
In 1993, Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations under theprovisional name "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM).
But uncompromising Greeks imposed a trade embargo on FYROM fromFebruary 1994 and September 1995, prompting accusations it was trying to destabilize the small, land-locked republic.
The embargo was lifted under a bilateral agreement that startedthe talks at the UN, and in 1996 Athens and Skopje opened diplomatic liaison offices that have led to closer ties, particularly in the economic and trade sectors.
Meanwhile, the European Union said it was not planning to follow the US move, the EU's Dutch presidency said in Brussels.