Greece to veto Macedonia membership at NATO summit

On the eve of a NATO summit in Bucharest Greece warned Tuesday that was set to veto Macedonia's membership because of a dispute over the country's name.

Greece to veto Macedonia membership at NATO summit
For weeks Greece threatened that it would veto Macedonia's membership bid at the April 2 summit unless a mutually acceptable solution was found in UN-led talks.

Skopje is set to join NATO along with Croatia and Albania.

"We had a long meeting concerning Bucharest ... Athens' position is known and has been discussed in parliament with all the opposition party leaders," said Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyianni.

"In this difficult effort, we have the support of all the parties of Greece - we all have the same goals," she added.

Greece has been at odds with Macedonia over the issue of the country's name ever since it broke away from Yugoslavia in 1991.

Athens argues the name Macedonia implies territorial claims on the northern Greek province of the same name and could destabilise the region.

Skopje said last week it planned a vote by the national assembly on name proposed by the UN: The Republic of Macedonia (Skopje).

But with no indication of Greece approving this compromise, Skopje decided to cancel a parliamentary debate on the issue.

Greece's stance has caused consternation in the United States, the European Union and NATO, where some member states fear that a rejection of Skopje could jeopardize stability in the Balkans.


Agencies

The dispute has resulted in growing tension between both countries. Athens protested over several billboards displayed in Skopje showing the cross on the Greek flag replaced with a swastika.
Last Mod: 01 Nisan 2008, 15:38
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