- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
Macedonia is stirring negative propaganda against Greece, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Gregory Delavekouras said, in response to 'genocide' remarks by Macedonia's leader.
|Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Gregory Delavekouras|
Athens has responded critically following a recent interview with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in which he accused Greece of having waged “political genocide” against Macedonia for 20 years.
Gruevski was referring to Greece's policy of blocking of Macedonia's integration into NATO and the EU and its denial of Macedonia's name and identity.
“The offensive outbursts of Skopje officials – just a few days after the new Greek government took office – certainly do not help in the direction of creating a climate conducive to the achievement of a mutually acceptable solution [to the dispute],” said Dalavekouras.
“In fact, they undermine bilateral relations and stoke the systematic negative government propaganda that is aimed at turning public opinion in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia against Greece,” he added.
Relations between Macedonia and Greece have been strained for two decades by the row over Macedonia's name. Greece insists that use of the term "Macedonia" implies a territorial claim to its own northern province of the same name.
Citing the unresolved issue, Greece has been blocking Macedonia’s progress towards both EU and NATO membership. UN-brokered talks to overcome the dispute have so far failed to yield a solution.
The most recent cause for friction came last week after Greek border guards started putting stickers on Macedonian cars entering Greece, covering the initials "MK" and reading: “Recognized by Greece as FYROM” [Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia].
Macedonia issued a protest note denouncing this move as offensive and provocative while Greece insisted it has right to do so under the bilateral UN brokered agreement from 1995.
Head of Macedonia’s main ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, says a solution to the “name” dispute between Macedonia and Greece may be nearer in 2013, when both countries have elections out of the way.
In two high-profile war crimes trials currently ongoing in Pristina, a series of witnesses have retracted previous statements alleging abuse at Kosovo Liberation Army detention centres.