Greek prime ministers Costas Karamanlis has said Athens would veto Macedonia's entrance into the European Union and NATO if Skopje doesn't consent to another name for the country.
"It is out of the question that Skopje would join any organization, whether it's NATO of EU, if it doesn't agree to a name which is acceptable to all," Karamanlis said in a television debate Thursday night related to parliamentary elections set for 16 September.
Greece is objecting to the name of Macedonia for the former Yugoslav republic, saying it is a name of Greek heritage and hides territorial pretensions to northern Greek province with the same name.
After the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, Skopje joined the United Nations and other international organizations under the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRM), but continued to use internally the name of the Republic of Macedonia. The country was later recognized under that name by the United States, which has a strong influence in the area.
Fifteen-year of efforts including international mediation to settle the dispute yielded no results.
Macedonia is an official candidate for EU membership and is expected to join NATO at a summit in Bucharest next year, but Athens could spoil these prospects if an agreement on the country's name wasn't reached first.
Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2007, 19:06