Warning to Skopje

(“Kathimerini”, 7 September, 2001)

Greece is in no way disposed to allow the disruption of its land communications with Europe because of any events which may occur in the FYROM, and has proceeded to make vigorous representations to this effect to the authorities in Skopje, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, P. Beglitis, declared yesterday. “What concerns us as a country, and is a matter of vital interest to us, is not to permit in any circumstances the closing of routes important to our own country and more generally to the European Union in the region of the Balkans”, stated Mr. Beglitis, emphasizing that “this is a clear, unambiguous message to all concerned”.

Free communication

“We will not accept the offering of any arguments by way of justification”, said Mr. Beglitis, adding that “free communication must be guaranteed by the legitimate authorities in Skopje”.

Mr. Beglitis explained that the Foreign Ministry had made “vigorous representations” through the Greek ambassador to Skopje, Mr. Kaklikis, to the appropriate local authorities, concerning the closing of routes to Kosovo and Yugoslavia by certain Macedonian Slav groups. The representations laid particular emphasis on the interest of Greece, and more generally the European Union, in seeing immediate intervention by the authorities and the opening of the closed routes. Reference was made to the obligations incumbent on the FYROM under the agreement on stabilization and links with the European Union. Information received indicates that, following the intervention of the local authorities, free communication by road with Kosovo was restored.

The situation in the FYROM will be discussed at the informal gathering of EU foreign ministers to be held on Saturday and Sunday in Brussels, where the Greek Foreign Minister, Mr. G. Papandreou, is expected to brief his counterparts on the question of the final form of the name of the FYROM and the policy to be followed by Greece in resolving the issue. It should be noted that the President of the FYROM has asked of the EU and the USA that his country be recognized under its constitutional title – Republic of “Macedonia” – while the Greek government argues that, in accordance with the current agreement, there should be a mutually acceptable resolution of the issue.

 

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