Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Greek troubles prompt Skopje NATO push

First entry: 7 July 2015 - 16:37 Athens, 13:37 GMT
Last update: 16:37 Athens, 13:37 GMTWorld
Greek troubles prompt Skopje NATO push
Greece’s growing political and economic problems have its small neighbor Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) sensing an opportunity to push hard for joining NATO, a move that has been stalled for years thanks to Athens’ opposition because of disputes over FYROM’s name.
Defense Minister Zoran Jolevski told POLITICO his country would be prepared to apply to join NATO using the ungainly name “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,” which is insisted on by Greece.
“All NATO member countries recognized that Macedonia had by that point met the NATO membership criteria,” said Jolevski. “Unfortunately our southern neighbor added one more criterion to that summit, the name.”
Greece argued that its northern neighbor should instead be called New Macedonia or Upper Macedonia, whereupon Macedonia sued Greece at the International Court of Justice and won in 2011. But its moment had passed.
The alliance’s formal position is that the country “has to find a mutually acceptable solution with Greece to the issue over its name before it can be invited to join NATO.”
But with Greece in meltdown, Skopje sees a chance to break the stalemate by announcing that it’s willing to join NATO as FYROM, while pointing out that its forces have served alongside NATO forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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