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News 04 Oct 12

Greece Extends Friendship Offer to Macedonia

Macedonia says it will carefully consider the proposed bilateral memorandum of understanding that the Greek Foreign Minister sent on Thursday to his Macedonian counterpart.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

Greek Foreign Minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos

The spokesperson for the Macedonian government, Aleksander Gjorgiev, confirmed that the letter from the Greek Foreign Minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos, has been received, together with the draft memorandum, adding that “It will be read with due care and seriousness”.

In the letter sent to the Macedonian Foreign Minister, Nikola Poposki, the Greek side proposes setting of  "framework and basic parameters" for the definitive resolution of the bilateral “name” dispute.

Greece in the letter expresses its desire to have the memorandum signed but reiterates its long term stance that Macedonia ought to use a composite name with a geographic qualifier.

“The signing of the Memorandum in question will be a decisive step towards strengthening of good neighbourly relations between the two countries, based on the resolution of the name issue and on FYROM’s European perspective”, reads the letter.

The proposed memorandum on understanding comes after the two Foreign Ministers met in New York in September at an introductory meeting.

In July, Macedonia proposed a set of bilateral agreements with Greece to be crowned by a declaration of friendship and cooperation but it was met with cold response from Greece.

Tensions between Greece and Macedonia are fuelled by the long-standing dispute 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 repeatedly blocked Macedonia’s progress towards both EU and NATO membership.

UN-brokered talks to overcome the long standing dispute have failed so far to result in a solution.

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