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MACEDONIA/U-S (2) (L) BY DAVID GOLLUST/WASHINGTON

From: yanni@ix.netcom.com (Ioannis Bousnakis)

DATE=5/17/95

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-178982

TITLE=MACEDONIA/U-S (L)

BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST

DATELINE=WASHINGTON

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: THE DEFENSE MINISTER OF THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA HAS APPEALED IN WASHINGTON FOR HELPING IN ENDING THE GREEK ECONOMIC BLOCKADE OF HIS COUNTRY. THE MACEDONIAN MINISTER -- BLAGOJ HANDZISKI (EDS: PRONOUNCED BLAH'-GOY HAN'-JISKI) -- IS THE HIGHEST RANKING MEMBER OF HIS GOVERNMENT TO PAY AN OFFICIAL VISIT TO WASHINGTON. A REPORT FROM V-O-A'S DAVID GOLLUST.

TEXT: THE MACEDONIAN DEFENSE CHIEF SAYS THE GREEK BLOCKADE IS COSTING HIS COUNTRY MORE THAN 600-MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR -- A QUARTER OF ITS ENTIRE GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT. AND HE WARNS THAT THE RESULTING ECONOMIC HARDSHIP IS EXACERBATING ETHNIC TENSIONS IN HIS COUNTRY THAT COULD CAUSE THE BALKANS CONFLICT TO SPREAD SOUTHWARD.

GREECE IMPOSED THE EMBARGO TO UNDERSCORE ITS OBJECTIONS TO THE NEWLY INDEPENDENT COUNTRY'S USE OF THE NAME MACEDONIA, THE DESIGN OF ITS FLAG, AND LANGUAGE IN ITS CONSTITUTION -- ALL OF WHICH, ACCORDING TO GREECE, INFRINGES ON ITS CULTURAL HERITAGE AND IMPLIES AMBITIONS BY THE SKOPJE GOVERNMENT ON THE NORTHWESTERN GREEK REGION OF MACEDONIA.

MR. HANDZISKI, AT A NEWS CONFERENCE, SAID HIS COUNTRY, WITH MILITARY FORCES ONE-TENTH THE SIZE OF THOSE OF GREECE, DOES NOT HAVE AND COULD NOT HAVE TERRITORIAL DESIGNS AGAINST THAT COUNTRY. HEARD THROUGH AN INTERPRETER, HE APPEALED FOR U-S HELP IN ARRANGING TALKS WITH GREECE -- AND SAID ALL ISSUES WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE NAME MACEDONIA WOULD BE ON THE TABLE:

               ///HANDZISKI (INTERPERETER) ACT///

THE PROBLEM OF THE NAME COULD NOT FALL UNDER ANY DISCUSSION. YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE INDENTITY OF A SINGLE PERSON -- LET ALONE OF A WHOLE NATION. ALL THE OTHER PROBLEMS WITHIN THE DISPUTE WITH GREECE ARE SOLVABLE WITHIN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

                          ///END ACT///

MR. HANDZISKI HELD PENTAGON TALKS EARLIER THIS WEEK WITH THE DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM PERRY ON THE BALKANS CRISIS, AND ON THE AMERICAN-LED U-N OBSERVER FORCE THAT HAS BEEN STATIONED IN MACEDONIA FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS.

HE SAID THE FORCE, WHICH INCLUDES ABOUT 550 U-S TROOPS, HAS BEEN ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SUCH DEPLOYMENTS IN UNITED NATIONS HISTORY -- BUT HE SAID IT MIGHT HAVE TO BE EXPANDED, IF THE FIGHTING IN BOSNIA AND CROATIA CONTINUES TO ESCALATE:

                   ///SECOND HANDZISKI ACT ///

WE FOLLOW CLOSELY THE SITUATION UP NORTH. AND IT'S VERY CLEAR THAT SHOULD A DRASTIC CHANGE OF THE SITUATION UP NORTH OCCUR, THE PRESENT MANDATE WILL HAVE TO BE RECONSIDERED. AND IN ORDER TO PRESERVE THE PEACE AND STABILITY OF THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA, IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO CHANGE THE MANDATE, THE COMPOSITION AND THE SIZE OF THE FORCES.

                         ///END ACT ///

THE DEFENSE MINISTER URGED THE UNITED STATES TO GRANT HIS COUNTRY FULL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS, SAYING THAT WOULD BE OF VITAL IMPORTANCE TO MACEDONIA'S FUTURE STABILITY AND AN IMPORTANT SIGNAL TO ITS NEIGHBORS.

PRESIDENT CLINTON RECOGNIZED THE COUNTRY IN 1993. BUT THE UNITED STATES HAS WITHHELD SENDING AN AMBASSADOR TO SKOPJE PENDING PROGRESS ON THE VARIOUS ISSUES OF DISPUTE WITH GREECE. (SIGNED)

NEB/DAG/LTJ/GPT

17-May-95 2:24 PM EDT (1824 UTC)

NNNN

Source: Voice of America

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