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Macedonia says Greece lacks pragmatism over name issue April 30, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Macedonia, Yunanistan.
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Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki said Friday that Greece shows no pragmatism towards solving the name dispute between the two neighbors, news from Skopje said.

“It is obvious that our current counterparts (in Greece) are more willing to hold meetings, handshakes and photo-ops,” Milososki said, comparing the Greek government led by Prime Minister George Papandreou with the preceding one.

“Unfortunately, we still haven’t felt a moment of essential use of pragmatism (by the Greeks) to overcome the issue,” Milososki said at a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, who is visiting Macedonia.

Milososki made the statement, commenting on Thursday’s meeting between Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou on the sidelines of the European Union summit in Brussels.

The meeting between the two prime ministers made no breakthrough in the name gridlock that has dogged the two neighbors for the past 19 years.

Greece has been opposed to Macedonia’s name, arguing that it implies territorial claims against its own northern province, also called Macedonia.

In December last year, EU postponed the decision to grant Skopje the date for start of its accession talks due to the unresolved name issue. In 2008 Greece also blocked Macedonia from entering NATO over the same dispute.

Thursday’s meeting was the third of its kind between the two prime ministers since Papandreou took office last year. The first took place in Brussels last October and the second in northern Greece last November. Neither achieved significant progress in solving the name issue.

“Macedonia will keep on being friendly with all of its neighbors, especially towards Greece,” Milososki said.

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