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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece's steadfast on FYROM 'name issue'
  • [02] Athens on 'name issue'
  • [03] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Greece's steadfast on FYROM 'name issue'

    Greece on Wednesday reiterated its steadfast positions -- expressed repeatedly over the recent period -- that no mutually acceptable solution for the FYROM "name issue" means no NATO membership invitation to the neighboring country, hours before a crucial NATO summit opens in Bucharest, with enlargement of the Alliance a top item on the agenda.

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis noted that "no solution to the name issue means no invitation", speaking to reporters after a final meeting with Premier Costas Karamanlis and Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis at the Maximos Mansion government headquarters ahead of the Summit.

    She referred to a final preparatory meeting before the summit, as the prime minister and the Greek delegation will leave in the afternoon for the Romanian capital.

    Asked whether a last-minute proposal on the "name issue" could be expected, Bakoyannis stressed that "I don't think the time margins exist", adding, "we are going (to the Summit) well-prepared, and our arguments are well-known".

    Asked whether a "trilateral" meeting between representatives of Greece, FYROM and the United States would be held on the sidelines of the Summit, Bakoyannis said there was no information to that effect, adding that Athens' position was "crystal-clear", although it possibly does not coincide with positions of other NATO member countries.

    Caption: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (R) with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis during a past European Council meeting in Brussels, in a file photo dated Friday, 14 March, 2008. ANA-MPA / MARIA MAROGIANNI.

    [02] Athens on 'name issue'

    A foreign ministry spokesman on Tuesday referred to the very short period of time remaining until Wednesday's NATO summit in Bucharest when asked about the prospects for a solution to the FYROM 'name issue' still separating Athens and Skopje.

    "Dramatically marginal, but not non-existent," was spokesman George Koumoutsakos' laconic answer to press questions over the issue that has dominated the foreign affairs agenda over recent weeks, in light of the Alliance summit and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) application to join NATO.

    He nevertheless noted that time was only restricted as far as the summit was concerned.

    "If we are referring to a negotiations process under the UN's auspices, then there is no deadline, and we are ready to continue negotiations until a mutually acceptable solution is found," he said, adding that a new UNSC resolution will be necessary if such an agreement is achieved.

    Moreover, asked about the political climate in the two neighbouring countries (Greece and FYROM) vis-?-vis the nagging dispute over the latter's constitutional name, Koumoutsakos said a string of provocations in neighbouring FYROM "are not limited to just the insulting defacing of the Greek flag, but to Greek history and the Greek people's sacrifices to defeat the Axis powers.

    "One could speak of sporadic incidents, but my feeling is that these incidents not only confirm, but are the product of a specific line of reasoning by (FYROM) government circles - I definitely exclude the neighbouring people - in the neighbouring country; they confirm and are the product of a nationalistic and irredentist reasoning and policy that is supported and exploited by the desire to monopolise the name (i.e. Macedonia) as indicative of an entire wider region".

    In emphasising the last point, the Greek foreign ministry spokesman said Athens sternly opposes a name that will allow a single country in the region to monopolise an entire geographical area.

    In touching on a related aspect that has generated widespread press speculation in the local press, namely, claims of US administration "pressure" on Athens to back down on the issue, Koumoutsakos merely noted that Greece was in complete agreement with Washington over NATO's expansion in the western Balkans, reminding that Greece has been a frontrunner in efforts to promote the Euro-Atlantic course of the area's countries.

    "We also back the 'open door' policy, and in this sense, there is no difference of opinion with the United States. The issue here, and it's at this point that some differences of opinion may arise, is the view that only technical criteria comprise the basis for approving an invitation for (NATO) membership?

    "When there is a clear-cut problem, as you've seen in recent days, due to provocations and the accompanying atmosphere that has been created; when there is a problem in relations between a member-state and a prospective member, the member-state should not -- and this is quite reasonable -- consent to an invitation for membership. This is the situation; these are our principled and crystal clear positions, and all of these suggestions regarding 'pressures' or other expressions, I would term them 'intense encouragement', attempt to color an open and sincere discussion with the United States, a discussion between long-time allies," Koumoutsakos said.

    Caption :ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis (R) and Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos (L)

    [03] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The crucial NATO Summit meeting beginning on Wednesday afternoon in Bucharest and the national unanimity resulting from the opposition's backing of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' positions on the FYROM issue dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "As Karamanlis wages the big battle, the entire nation backs him"

    APOGEVMATINI: "Operation 'grabbing' of Greek Macedonia - FYROM's 'propaganda' maps and symbols".

    AVGHI: "The referendum is a democratic solution (for the social security bill) - Collision on Tuesday in parliament"

    AVRIANI: "Greece united in a tight fist - Government, opposition and people united against President Bush's intolerable extortion".

    CHORA: "Greece remains united and determined despite US and associates' pressures - What will happen in Bucharest".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "We must remain adamant in Bucharest against the US and NATO pressures and extortions on the FYROM issue".

    ELEFTHEROS: "At the NATO leaders' dinner in Bucharest, a veto will be served - Karamanlis sent letters to the 25 NATO member leaders".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Immediate solution or veto - Bush's last minute plan (to circumvent a veto by Greece) - Karamanlis sends letters to all leaders".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Red line - National front for veto - Up to what limit may Karamanlis back down"

    ESTIA: "Skopje violated 1995 interim agreement on the name".

    ETHNOS: "Veto now .....opens a window to the future - Not inviting FYROM to join NATO is the only way".

    KATHIMERINI: "Crucial night in Bucharest - Greece ready to set a veto despite heavy pressure from US to permit FYROM's accession to NATO".

    LOGOS: "Greek unanimity before the NATO Summit - The negotiations thriller escalates ".

    NIKI: "Solid 'no' to Bush - The nationwide front puts a stop to US plans for FYROM".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "All united in the April 16 labour strike on social security, collective labour agreements and anti-labour measures on the way".

    TA NEA: "Karamanlis' wretched veto to main opposition leader George Papandreou - He rejected Papandreou offer to visit Skopje".

    TO VIMA: "Pressures and behind-the-scenes maneuvers for FYROM- The battle of Bucharest".

    VRADYNI: "Premier heading for NATO Summit with unanimity as his weapon - Parties and people stand by Karamanlis".


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