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Macedonia tries to allay Greek objections to its name January 27, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Macedonia, Yunanistan.
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Macedonia will propose steps to improve relations with Greece and help solve a dispute over the former Yugoslav republic’s name, Macedonian foreign minister Antonio Milososki said yesterday.

Greece has blocked Macedonia’s efforts to join the Nato defence alliance and the European Union because of the dispute, saying the Balkan state’s name implies territorial claims to a Greek province called Macedonia.

Mr Milososki, who expects to meet Greek foreign minister George Papandreou on Friday, said he would propose that Macedonia and Greece open embassies on each other’s territory and that a new border crossing between them be opened to make travel easier.

He said he would also propose the two states sign an accord preventing double taxation as a sign of Macedonian support to Greece, which faces debt and deficit problems.

“We have these initiatives and we want to stimulate Greece. We want to make a step forward regarding this [name] question,” Mr Milososki told a news conference during a visit to Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Skopje declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and took the name of Macedonia, the same as Greece’s northernmost province.

Slovenian foreign minister Samuel Zbogar said there were expectations in the EU that the name dispute could be solved by the end of June, but gave no details.

Slovenia is the only former Yugoslav republic that has managed so far to join the EU.

It acceded to the union in 2004 and adopted the euro in 2007.

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