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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-26

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: Time for FYROM gov't to end rhetoric, work for solution

  • [01] PM: Time for FYROM gov't to end rhetoric, work for solution

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday reiterated Athens' direct and clear message to Skopje regarding the still unresolved "name issue", in statements after his meeting with Bosnia-Herzegovina's Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Nikola Spiric, in the Greek capital.

    "We hope that the new government will abandon the provocative rhetoric of the pre-election period, so that we can together arrive at a solution," Karamanlis stressed. He also emphasised that political will was more important for finding a solution than time, speaking on the same day as a visit to Athens by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz.

    The prime minister noted that the latest European Council meeting expressly referred to a need to find a mutually acceptable solution to the dispute between Greece and its neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the "name issue", as part of good neighbour relations, and had included this among the criteria for FYROM's European prospects.

    Karamanlis underlined Greece's consistent support for the European prospects of all the countries in the western Balkans but only on condition that they met the established terms and criteria for EU entry, among which respect for good neighbour relations was paramount.

    In comments on bilateral relations between Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina, meanwhile, the Greek premier said that his meeting with Spiric in Sarajevo a year earlier, when he had attended the inauguration of the Greek-Bosnian friendship building refurbished with the use of funds from the Greek Plan for the Reconstruction of the Balkans, had been a "landmark" in relations between the two countries.

    He mentioned other projects in Bosnia currently being constructed with funds from Greece and bilateral agreements that had been signed or were in the process of being ratified by the two sides, such as one for bilateral defence cooperation and two very important economic agreements, one for economic and technological cooperation and one for avoiding double taxation.

    The Bosnian premier praised what he called the leadership role played by Greece in the western Balkans and asked for this role to be further developed for the good of the region. He pointed out that Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis had asked the European Union to intensify the pace of rapprochement with the western Balkans.

    He also thanked Greece for the 19.5 million euros that it spent on the Greek-Bosnian friendship building and the 3.5 million euros being spent on construction of a Sarajevo hospital.

    Regarding the dispute with FYROM, Spiric said that Sarajevo "believes in a compromise solution".

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (L) welcomes Bosnia-Herzegovina's Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Nikola Spiric, outside the Maximos Mansion in the Greek capital on Thursday, June 26, 2008. ANA-MPA / G. ANTONIOU.

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