'NEW REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA' ?!
The US has proposed that Greece and Macedonia settled on the name "New Republic of Macedonia", Greek daily Kathimerini said on Friday, citing unnamed diplomats. The same sources say the proposal was put on table during the talks that Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Washington yesterday.
State Department spokesman Shon McCormack, on the other hand, made clear Thursday that the US made no suggestion on the name. Briefing on Secretary Rice's meeting with Bakoyannis and the meeting with Macedonian foreign minister Milososki, the State Department's spokesman said Secretary Rice did not offer any list of name proposals.
Kathimerini daily, however, says Washington has proposed that the name New Republic of Macedonia be used by Skopje in all its dealings with the international organizations. Athens could then, theoretically, press for the name to be used in Macedonia's bilateral relations with its neighbors.
Greece is insisting that any composite name for the Balkan country should be used in its bilateral relations and Bakoyannis took the opportunity to pile pressure on the US that it would have to follow suit as well, Kathimerini said. Athens is likely to make the same demands to its EU allies as well as to members of the UN Security Council.
Washington's proposal is likely to set the basis of discussions between Bakoyannis and UN mediator Matthew Nimitz, who is due in Athens on Monday, as a diplomatic pressure grows for solution to be found to the name spat, Kathimerini daily said. Citing unnamed diplomats, Greek daily Eleftheros Typos said the UN Secretary General's Special Representative Nimitz will present a new proposal both to Athens and Skopje next week.
The same sources say Rice had told Bakoyannis that Washington remains fully committed to ensure that Macedonia, Albania and Croatia be invited to NATO membership.
Rice added there's still time to reach a mutually agreeable solution until NATO summit in Bucharest in April.
MD: New republic of Macedonia? ridiculous!