25 September 2008 The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is ready to accept “a fair compromise” in its long-running dispute with Greece over its official name, so long as it does not deny its national and cultural identity, President Branko Crvenkoski told the General Assembly today.
Addressing the Assembly’s annual general debate, Mr. Crvenkoski said his country would continue to participate “actively and constructively” in the negotiation process mediated by United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz, “despite the obvious absurdity of the issue.”
Mr. Nimetz, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, has been holding talks with both Skopje and Athens on the name issue, with the most recent round taking place in New York earlier this month.
The Interim Accord of 13 September 1995, which was brokered by the UN, details the difference between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece on the name issue. It also obliges the two countries to continue negotiations under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General to try to reach agreement.
Mr. Crvenkoski said that, as part of that negotiation process, “we are consistently respecting the undertaken legal obligations and continuously affirming our constructive role by numerous suggestions and concessions.”
But he said Greece has “not exercised the same level of dedication to the undertaken obligations,” leading to what he described as “a flagrant breach” of the Interim Accord.
According to that document, the President said, Greece cannot object to applications by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for membership of international, multilateral and regional institutions and organizations of which Athens is already a full member.
Yet at a NATO summit in April, Greece objected to an invitation for admittance offered to Skopje, insisting that the name dispute be resolved first. Similar arguments have been used as well over possible membership of the European Union.
“With such an act, the very logic of the negotiations was seriously undermined, and simultaneously, the principles of the UN Charter were derogated.”
Mr. Crvenkoski stressed that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia “is ready to accept a fair compromise and reasonable solution which is not going to deny our national and cultural identity.
“It is understandable that we are not ready to give consent to just any kind of solution, in the case when such an important national issue is in question,” he added.
“If the reason for our integration into the international institutions is the contribution to the stabilization of our State, then we should not allow ourselves to be humiliated and to experience internal destabilization due to ill compromise.”
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