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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-08-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] UN chief reply to FYROM
  • [02] FM on Georgia status
  • [03] Alavanos meets Catholic cleric

  • [01] UN chief reply to FYROM

    The leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) met here on Tuesday to ponder the Balkan country's positions vis-à-vis the most recent negotiations in New York City last week on the thorny and still unresolved "name issue", a meeting that coincided with an unambiguous reply by the UN Secretary General to first settle the "name issue" before delving into other issues.

    The letter by UN chief Ban Ki-moon was the latest high-profile international rejoinder to an unprecedented "letter-writing" campaign by FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski to promote recognition of a so-called "Macedonian minority" in Greece's own northern province of Macedonia.

    In using the most delicate of diplomatic language, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon responded to Gruevski's letter by saying "I hope that by resolving the name issue, a way will be paved for better ties that will contribute to tackling these other issues and possibly to finally settling them..."

    The UN general secretary's reference to the "name issue" echoed comments by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz late last week, who stressed that "my main focus is on the name issue," following separate meetings in NYC with both the Greek and FYROM negotiators.

    According to local media reports here, Ban also wrote that he welcomes Gruevski's intention to inform him on the landlocked country's positions regarding various issues.

    "The UN Secretariat will resume working with you and with the members of your Government on issues that are of mutual interest. Particularly, my personal envoy Mr. Matthew Nimetz will resume his efforts towards finding a solution to the name issue row. I am aware of the existence of other issues, which you consider should become the subject for Skopje-Athens talks," the UN secretary general added.

    The government in Skopje said the UN chief's letter was delivered on Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski chaired the Skopje meeting that was attended by PM Gruevski, the country's foreign minister and its top negotiator to discuss the latest ideas presented by Nimetz last Wednesday for overcoming the 17-year-old impasse -- the only remaining difference in what were more-or-less burgeoning bilateral relations following the signing of the September 1995 "interim agreement". Failure to find a compromise solution to the "name issue" doomed FYROM's NATO bid in early April 2008, causing a deterioration in bilateral relations and even generating a snap election in FYROM

    Nimetz is expected in Skopje this week. (-MPA / hkt)

    Caption: A file photo of

    [02] FM on Georgia status

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stated in Brussels that a current ceasefire stage in Georgia must return to the previous situation as soon as possible, speaking after an urgent NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.

    "In-depth discussions were held and all the member-states stated their positions. There is widespread skepticism over the developments. Our position was clear. We must pass from the current stage of the ceasefire to a return to the status quo ante, meaning the previous situation as soon as possible," Bakoyannis said, adding:

    "This the necessary first step for the beginning of a substantive dialogue with the purpose of finding a final resolution via negotiations. In this framework, the implementation of what has been agreed is of great importance, meaning the implementation of the six points with which Russia and Georgia have committed themselves and the withdrawal of the Russian troops," she said.

    "I would like to add here that the NATO-Russia dialogue is of great importance. Greece expressed support for the continuation of this dialogue at all levels, as many other countries also did. I believe that we must utilise every possibility given to us by the established dialogue at the NATO-Russia Council, to enable the necessary messages to be sent. What is most important is that this relation is based on certain fundamental principles. Respect for the territorial integrity of countries holds a leading position. In any case, this principle, together with that of avoiding resorting to force, constitute steadfast principles of Greek foreign policy," she said.

    Lastly, Bakoyannis said that "apart from the discussion we had at NATO, we had the special convening of the OSCE troika as well. As you are aware, Greece will be assuming the presidency for 2009. We discussed the possibilities that we have for the OSCE to act and we agreed that the first stage, which is considerably important, is for international observers of the OSCE to go to the specific region. The initial news is good, 20 observers will be going, as they were accepted by all the sides involved. As you know, Russia also participates in the OSCE.

    "Therefore, 20 will be going and we hope that it will be the first step for more international observers to go as well. They will reach the number of 100. Greece, holding the next Presidency, is prepared to participate actively in this issue," she concluded.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    [03] Alavanos meets Catholic cleric

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliament head Alekos Alavanos met with the Roman Catholic archbishop of Tinos, Nikolaos, on Tuesday on the noted isle in the north Cyclades.

    The Catholic cleric, who also holds the ecclesiastical jurisdiction for Naxos, Mykonos and Andros, presented Alavanos, a native of Tinos, with a letter detailing the problems faced over the years by his Catholic archdiocese.

    Among others, he referred to indifference, as he said, by the state towards exploiting and promoting the "invaluable culture and ecclesiastical heritage of the Catholic church of Greece, and particularly of the islands".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of SYRIZA Parliament head Alekos Alavanos.

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