GREECE FOCUSES ON 'NEW MACEDONIA'
As Athens and Skopje brace for a fresh round of UN-mediated talks on the name dispute, the Greek government now prefers the composite name New Macedonia rather than Upper Macedonia, which it had favored for its geographical dimension.
According to Greek daily Kathimerini, the abrupt change of tune in Athens has been prompted by a report from eminent Greek academics citing extracts from the writings of ancient scholars Herodotus and Thucydides – and from the speeches of ancient warrior Alexander the Great – which refer to Upper Macedonia.
The Upper Macedonia mentioned in these texts corresponds to four Greek prefectures, the report says, and so could fuel irredentism, Kathimerini daily said.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis did not mention any shift in strategy on the Macedonia name issue on Saturday during a speech before New Democracy’s central committee. However he did reiterate his appeal to the authorities in Skopje to return to the negotiating table.
The latest opinion poll shows that vast majority of Greeks remain steadfastly opposed to a composite name for the neighboring country - "New" or "Upper Macedonia". They insist that the name of neighboring country does not contain the word Macedonia.
MD: No comment...