talking with Macedonia over NATO, despite Greek objections
February 01, 2007 3:42 PM
WASHINGTON-It is only Greece that has a problem with calling Macedonia
Macedonia, and the two southern Balkan neighbors need to work it out to
get on with international business, a State Department spokesman said Thursday.
As for the United States, Sean McCormack said, it is willing to discuss
NATO membership with Macedonia under that name and would like a resolution
of the name dispute with Greece.
Greece is a member of both NATO and the European Union, to which Macedonia
applied for membership in 2004. Greece has threatened to stand in the way
of Macedonian membership under that name in both international organizations.
McCormack said the United States has no say in the EU situation, but
"in the case of NATO, then we will talk to Macedonia about their aspirations.
"We have made it very clear that NATO should have a door open to consideration
in expanding its membership, and we're going to continue to talk to Macedonia
about what their aspirations are."
Athens refers to Macedonia by the acronym FYROM, Former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia, the name under which the country entered the United Nations
in 1993. The Greek position is that the name Macedonia implies a claim
by FYROM on the northern Greece province of Macedonia and could destabilize
"I understand, in the case of Greece, that they need to come to some
accommodation on this, for those two parties, difficult issue," McCormack
said. "It's an emotional issue. But they should try to work through the
"They, after all, live next door to one another. Neither of them are
going to be able to move. So they should work to resolve the issue."