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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-04-10

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] FYROM leader says no official proposal tabled with Skopje; rejects compromise name cited by Athens
  • [02] Greek Independence Day parade in NYC
  • [03] Papoulias calls on FYROM leadership to seize on 'very good opportunity'
  • [04] Greek tourism minister foresees better tourism figures for '05
  • [05] Voulgarakis official visit to Washington this week

  • [01] FYROM leader says no official proposal tabled with Skopje; rejects compromise name cited by Athens

    SKOPJE (ANA) - Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) President Branko Crvenkovski reiterated here on Saturday that his country has not officially received a UN mediator's compromise solution to resolve the "name issue" between his landlocked country and southern neighbour Greece.

    However, Crvenkovski added that the proposal cited by Athens a day earlier, and one attributed to UN mediator Matthew Nimetz, is not acceptable. He said Skopje will find out on Monday, during a meeting between Nimetz and a FYROM diplomat, if such a proposal has been made and what its particulars are.

    Moreover, the FYROM president appeared unmoved from his country's standing position, namely, that it should use only its preferred constitutional name - "Macedonia" - a position adamantly rejected by Greece.

    Greece on Friday said that although Nimetz' proposal towards Athens and FYROM for recognition of the latter as "Republika Makedonija - Skopje" does not fully satisfy its goals, the proposal nevertheless serves as a "basis for negotiations".

    On his part, Crvenkovski said the "Republika Makedonija - Skopje" proposal cited by Athens was merely a "good basis" for negotiations with Greece only regarding the name used in their bilateral relations.

    The proposal was conveyed to Athens this week by UN envoy Nimetz, part of the international body's ongoing diplomatic efforts (since 1995) to resolve the only difference -- albeit a major one -- still plaguing bilateral relations between the two Balkan neighbours.

    Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis added on Friday that "we are ready to come to these negotiations with a positive and constructive attitude."

    Moreover, he expressed a hope that Skopje will do the same in order to allow a full normalisation of bilateral relations as well as to further its own progress towards Euro-Atlantic institutions and to bolster regional stability.

    If agreed and adopted by the United Nations, the compromise name proposed by Nimetz will be accompanied by a UN recommendation that it be used by all countries of the international community and international organisations.

    Athens strenuously opposes FYROM's use of the name "Macedonia", citing historical and political reasons. Moreover, Greece's largest province, which shares borders with FYROM, is called Macedonia, the same geographical region that more-or-less corresponds with the ancient kingdom of Macedonia.

    (Caption: Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, right, meets with UN special envoy Matthew Nimetz in New York City late last month to discuss the FYROM 'name issue'. ANA / D. Panagos)

    [02] Greek Independence Day parade in NYC

    The annual Greek Independence Day parade through Manhattan's Fifth Avenue was held on Saturday, April 9 this year. The Greek government was represented by Deputy Sports Minister George Orfanos.

    As in previous years, members of the elite Evzones Presidential Guard led the parade, which also included representatives of the greater New York City's Greek-American communities. (Photo: ANA / D. Panagos)

    [03] Papoulias calls on FYROM leadership to seize on 'very good opportunity'

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Saturday called on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) leadership to take advantage of the sudden fillip in international diplomatic activity to resolve the nagging "name issue" still plaguing Greece's relations with its northern neighbor.

    Papoulias' comments, from Volos in central Greece, came a day after the Greek government released the particulars of a compromise solution tabled by a UN mediator, namely, recognition of the one-time Yugoslav state as "Republika Makedonija - Skopje".

    In echoing the government's statements of a day earlier, Papoulias said the proposal was a good basis for negotiations with FYROM's leadership, "although it (proposal) needs some changes."

    Papoulias, a former foreign minister who oversaw a groundbreaking "interim agreement" with FYROM in September 1995, noted that the neighboring country's leadership has been presented with a very good opportunity to contribute to peace and security in the Balkans.

    Except for the "name issue" -- the only 'thorn' preventing a full normalisation in bilateral ties -- Greece and land-locked FYROM enjoy admirable relations, especially in trade and cross-border investments.

    [04] Greek tourism minister foresees better tourism figures for '05

    Greece's Tourism Minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos, over the weekend appeared optimistic that tourist arrivals will rebound this year, as the international situation in the sector is also stabilising, he noted.

    Avramopoulos spoke during the International Tourism Exhibition "Tourism Panorama 2005", being held at the Piraeus exhibition centre.

    "A pre-condtion for our success in the future is better coordination, better organisation, and especially an upgrading of services..." the minister said.

    [05] Voulgarakis official visit to Washington this week

    WASHINGTON (ANA) - Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis will arrive here for a three-day official visit this week, where he is scheduled to meet with high-ranking Bush administration members as well as the CIA and FBI chiefs.

    Among others, bilateral cooperation in the post-Olympics period as well as in southeast Europe will be discussed, as Greece's image in Washington has apparently been dramatically upgraded in the wake of last year's successful hosting of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    Other issues on the agenda include efforts to combat money laundering and drug smuggling, to ensure regional security as well as people smuggling.

    On Monday, Voulgarakis will participate in a round-table discussion focusing on terrorism, hosted by the DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.


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