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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece vetoes invitation to FYROM for NATO entry

  • [01] Greece vetoes invitation to FYROM for NATO entry

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday night vetoed the prospect of a NATO invitation to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to join the Alliance, during a closely watched NATO summit in Bucharest.

    Addressing the leaders' dinner, which signalled the opening of the summit, Karamanlis outlined Greece's positions on the issue, underlining that Athens cannot consent to a FYROM's NATO entry invitation if the "name issue" for the former Yugoslav republic is not resolved first.

    According to initial reports, France, Spain, Iceland and Luxembourg expressed support to Greece's positions, while Hungary, Slovakia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany showed "understanding" for Athens' arguments.

    Opposing the Greek position and supporting an invitation without conditions to FYROM were Turkey, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Lithuania.

    Denmark, Bulgaria, and Norway, although moving in the same direction, were less enthusiastic. Canada, the United Kingdom and Portugal refrained from taking a stand.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the warmest supporter of the Greek positions, who said in his address that "we stand in solidarity with Greeks; we believe that a solution must be found. I have Hungarian roots, but I also have Greek roots and I fully acknowledge them."

    During a reception preceding the official dinner, Karamanlis held a brief conversation with US President George W. Bush.

    In a related development, NATO spokesman James Appathurai told reporters in Brussels after the end of the Bucharest dinner, that Greece made clear that despite the fact that it wants to see FYROM joining NATO the soonest possible, it is not possible to give its consent as long as the neighbouring republic's "name issue" remains unresolved.

    According to an ANA-MPA dispatch from the Belgian capital, Appathurai added that, given Greece's position, efforts for resolving the "name issue" should continue, noting at the same time that all NATO member-states wish for a compromise solution as soon as possible, without this meaning that concrete timeframes have been set.

    Caption: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (C) smiles while posing together with NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer (R) and Romanian President Traian Basescu (L) during the welcoming of Alliance leaders at the Cotroceni Palace, during the first day of a NATO Summit in Bucharest, 02 April 2008. ANA-MPA/ EPA/STR

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