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'REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN MACEDONIA' ACCEPTABLE FOR GREECE, SAYS DEPUTY FM



National.

'Republic of Northern Macedonia' is a name that meets Greek requirements, says country's Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas in an interview with Greek TV station "Skai".

"It is known that mediator Matthew Nimetz has referred to name 'Republic of Northern Macedonia' in the past. The Greek position about a name with a geographical qualifier is well known, so I think that if anyone uses logic will see that this proposal is within the framework of the Greek side's thoughts", says Droutsas.

According to him, direct contacts between the two sides, such as the upcoming meeting of countries' PMs George Papandreou and Nikola Gruevski, could be of help to the UN-led process.

"The Greek government has said it has the political will to see this issue resolved. Our position, the national red line, is well known. We expect the political leadership of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to change its approach, come to the table of negotiations under the UN in a constructive manner and, if there is a political will, then it can soon be resolved", stresses Droutsas.

Asked if Washington put pressure on Athens regarding Skopje's NATO accession, he did not give a direct response, adding "there is a wish also on the part of countries such as the United States to see Skopje within NATO, to move ahead with their accession course".

"We want them to join NATO too, and we promote their accession course towards the European Union. But we stress that the prerequisite for this is the prior resolution of the name issue", stresses Droutsas, expecting the United States 'to play their own part' and exercise pressure on the leadership in Skopje.

Pertaining to the possibility of determining a date for beginning of Macedonia's accession negotiations at EU's summit in June, the Greek Deputy FM says this would not be a problem if the name issue was settled by then.


[Mia]

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February 27 2010:
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