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Greek foreign minister replies to Skopje's letter

Author: Clive Leviev-Sawyer Date: Wed, Apr 01 2009 26 Comments, 4071 Views
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A four-page written reply by Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis to a letter from her Macedonian counterpart Antonio Milososki has been delivered, Greece's foreign ministry confirmed.

The replying letter was signed on March 24 and delivered on March 27 2009.

Milsososki, in his letter to Bakoyannis in mid-March, asked for the two countries to resume political dialogue and agree on some steps to improve bilateral relations.

Milososki proposed a Macedonian-Greek declaration of friendship, good-neighbourly relations and co-operation, the setting up of a bilateral joint committee on education and history and a framework proposal for improving bilateral relations.

"I am firmly convinced that by accepting of these three initiatives, both governments will send a strong message about their strong commitment and constructive approach to the ongoing talks between the Republic of Greece and the Republic of Macedonia held under brokerage of the United Nations, which are aimed at overcoming the name differences," Milososki said in the letter.

Athens and Skopje are locked in a prolonged dispute about the use of the name Macedonia. Greece objects to the use of the name by the former Yugoslav republic, saying that it is historically inappropriate and is used to back up Macedonia's territorial claims in Greece. Greece has blocked Skopje's Nato ambitions and has said that it will block Macedonia's EU aspirations while the name dispute remains unresolved. Skopje has said it will take Athens to court, alleging that the 2008 veto by Greece of an invitation to Macedonia to join Nato is a violation of a bilateral interim accord.

A Greek foreign ministry spokesperson said that in her reply, Bakoyannis had emphasised that "all these years, Greece has been pursuing and adhering to good neighbourly relations with sincere will, in deeds and not just in words, and it has been making efforts towards finding a solution on the name issue.

"Another point mentioned in the minister's letter to her counterpart is that what is needed are deeds rather than words, as words are mostly aimed at creating impressions; specific actions are needed towards resolving the name issue that is at the heart of our relations and the problems that we are facing," the spokesperson said.

As to Milososki's reference to committees, the spokesperson said that in her reply, Bakoyannis made it clear "that history is well known and it cannot be the subject of any
negotiations or committees".

"On the issue of a committee on improving the prevailing climate and developing bilateral relations, Ms. Bakoyannis stresses that all this can be ensured through tangible respect for fundamental principles, good neighbourly relations, and anything that is governed by provisions on bilateral relations and articles of the Interim Accord," the spokesperson said.
 
The spokesperson said that, with regard to the name issue, "it is certain that the pending name issue, in conjunction with the handlings and policy of Skopje's incumbent government - that is, its extreme stances, fanatical positions, and intolerant views - are having a negative impact on the relations of the two countries not just on regional cooperation but, most of all, on the neighbouring country's European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Given all this, resolving the name issue will be a catalyst for positive changes."

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    • Anonymous
      Aristotle Rating:
      neutral
      #93 13, 40, Tue, Jul 07 2009

      to Macedonia is Greek - don't get so hot under the collar, man.

      A lot of water flowed under the bridge between Classical Greece and Modern Greece, especially after the final conquest of Macedonia by the Romans in 146 BC, when Macedonia became a series of Roman provinces, with Thracians sent in to re-settle the place.
      At one point (between 500 and 700 AD) the Romans even switched the name "Macedonia" to describe Eastern Thrace (today's Plovdiv region in Bulgaria). So the "3000 year continuity" argument that you put is lost.

      [...]

      Read the full comment /> The obvious solution is to re-use the names used under the later Roman Empire (very respectable, and everybody accepts the legitimacy of the old "Imperium Romanum"). These were:

      - Macedonia Prima (corresponding to today's Greek province of Macedonia)
      - Macedonia Salutaris (later Secunda) (corresponding to today's Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM as crossword addicts call it.)

      For the benefit of those less schooled in Latin than myself, "salutaris" means 'health-giving', as in the Catholic hymn "O Salutaris Hostia" . "Prima" means 'first', as any fule kno, which should keep the Greeks happy (if anything ever will !)

      Hope this is helpful - this site needs a bit of positive "spin" sometimes to drag it out of endless recriminations.

      By the way, "FYROM" is not without classical culture - look at the ampitheatre and Roman baths at Stobi, dating from 197 BC.

    • Anonymous neutral
      #92 11, 57, Wed, Jul 01 2009

      I dont think so... You misunderstood what Greece and Greeks mean. That are 2 different words.

      Should I repeat once again the same thing? Macedonia is greek since 3000 years, Macedonians were greek people, just like Athenians. Alexandros is a greek name, he was born in Pella a greek city, etc. How can you contest this historical evidence?
      This shows nothing than a bad will and hellenophobic comments from your part.

    • AnonymousGreece is MacedonianSun, Jun 28 2009

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    • Anonymous
      Aristotle Rating:
      neutral
      #90 19, 45, Wed, Jun 24 2009

      You got your maths wrong, I'm afraid. Greece has only been independent for less than 1000 years, not 3000 (you have to deduct the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and the Ottoman Empire) So your point rather reduces in impact. Sorry, but those are the historical facts.

    • Anonymous neutral
      #89 00, 32, Wed, Jun 24 2009

      Macedonia is Greece and Greece is Macedonia. End of the story.

      FYROM are slav's and has nothing to do with Macedonia which is part of Greece, since 3000 years.

    • AnonymousDr DuckSat, Jun 13 2009

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      AnonymousPellaSat, Jun 13 2009

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      AnonymousDr DuckFri, Jun 12 2009

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      AnonymousDr DuckFri, Jun 12 2009

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    • Anonymous
      Aries Rating:
      neutral
      #81 11, 39, Wed, Apr 08 2009


      To Janet,Dr Cornelius

      folks I perfectly agree
      we must celebrate
      Paix aux hommes de bonne volonte

    • Anonymous neutral
      #80 10, 40, Wed, Apr 08 2009

      Janet - it looks as if this site has found a moderator at long last (thank goodness !) All the other sillier and abusive comments have gone too. The field is left to yourself, Aries/The Ram, and me, all of whom have at least tried to be constructive !

    • Anonymous
      Janet Rating:
      neutral
      #79 03, 28, Wed, Apr 08 2009

      Is it just me or has Peter's posts been deleted???? It's about time, as you can see the atmosphere has changed. This calls for a celebration :)

    • Anonymous neutral
      #78 00, 09, Wed, Apr 08 2009

      Ou bien, ce fameux chanson de George Brassens "Le Roi Des Cons" a commence "Que ce s'ait vu dans le passe, Maria ne soit renversee", et apres continua tout dans le subjonctif jusqu'au fin, avec toute sorte d'hypothese historique (mais assez probable).

    • Anonymous neutral
      #77 00, 02, Wed, Apr 08 2009

      A Aries - oui, tout a fait d'accord !

    • Anonymous
      Aries Rating:
      neutral
      #76 23, 21, Tue, Apr 07 2009

      Dr Cornelius
      "Si jeunesse savait si vieillesse
      pouvait"

    • Anonymous neutral
      #75 22, 26, Tue, Apr 07 2009

      Aries - fair point. "SeveroSlavia" (i.e. the northern Slavs - Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, have had their problems with both the Germans and the Russians, but are now hopefully at peace with each other and their neighbours - except of course the Hungarians, whom the Romanians distrust too.) Meanwhile, forget anything I said about Moldova being an example of anything - Chisinau has just collapsed into riots after allegedly rigged elections, and putting the EU flag on top of the President's gold-plated palace really wasn't a very clever idea by the demonstrators.) O tempora, o mores.

    • Anonymous
      Aires Rating:
      neutral
      #74 22, 16, Tue, Apr 07 2009

      Dr Cornelius
      I personally never consented to the dissolution of Yugoslavia (south slavia) in Slavic) it created nothing but a ( Macedoine de Fruits) with all the past ,present, and alas future issues in a region once called "the powder Keg of Europe" and i can state worldwide.
      It is primarily the geopolitical emplacement of Greece which causes her to be should i say a little more suspicious under a dogma
      "to have peace be prepared for war" the exact Latin quote I cannot recall at the moment.

    • Anonymous neutral
      #73 19, 22, Tue, Apr 07 2009

      No, Aries, you have not said too much at all, and you are right about statute law / jus strictum(everywhere except the UK, that is, as we haven't got a written constitution !) This is a serious issue that must be examined as objectively as possible.

      At first sight - and I have only done a quick check - there is no similar provision in the Polish or Belgian constitutions (for example), but there does indeed appear to be something very similar in the constitutions of other Former Yugoslav republics. My suspicion is that this was [...]

      Read the full comment to prevent quarrels between them about small bits of territory (as has of course happened in Slovenia and Croatia, while what happened in Bosnia is a terrible example of how land disputes can be escalated into full-scale war. And Kosovo is still unresolved.

      Before Former Yugoslavia's neighbours (including Greece) get too alarmed by this, however, it is worth pointing out that NONE of these border squabbles (or worse) has involved a neighbouring state: Italy, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania have not had any border incidents, claims, or cause for concern (well, Albania might be watching Kosovo closely, but Serbia has not invaded Albanian territory.) So I really don't see why Greece should be more worried than the other neighbouring countries, unless it suspects that there is some unfinished business somewhere.

      There are linguistic / ethnic issues elsewhere in the former Yugoslav frontier regions too - Slovenes in Italy and Austria, Hungarians in Slovenia, Croats and a few Serbs in Hungary, and a bit of ethnic mixing on the Romanian border. (Hungarians and Romanians are of course not Slavs, nor are Austrians or Italians.) So far this has not caused any problems - there are even Hungarian and Italian delegates in the Slovene parliament. So there IS a more positive way of looking at this, rather than seeing threats under every stone (or under every mother's skirt, as the dreaded Peter would say.)

      Hope this is helpful - it is intended as such

    • Anonymous
      Aries Rating:
      neutral
      #72 14, 55, Tue, Apr 07 2009

      Dr Cornelius
      Sorry and thanks for the hint my "i" drifted left. The Constitution
      of a nation is supposed to be "statute Law and not common law
      'JUS STRICTUM" and is defined as the Chart upon which which all legislation in a "given" territory is based and must comply in "scriptumm et animnus
      the given territory is drawn upon
      International Law and Conventions,good or bad -NOT THE POINT- for now.
      No the Greek Constitution makes no provision about changes and spatial plans The Epikrateia is given
      [...]

      Read the full comment The different issues between counries Frontiers, Continental shelf are ddiverted either to the Hague either by "bulges". as you
      corectly mention.
      J'espere n'avoir pas trop dit

    • Anonymous neutral
      #71 10, 12, Tue, Apr 07 2009

      to Aries/the Ram: Many thanks for going to the trouble of digging out these two troublesome items in the Macedonian constitution (articles 68 and 91 about the Assembly determining national boundaries and the Government proposing the national "spatial plan".) I can see why these provisions might at first sight alarm Greece, or indeed any other of Macedonia's neighbours. My own suspicion, however, is that if there is any specific target in mind (these provisions affect all Macedonia's boundaries, not just one), it is probably the one with Kosovo, which was highly internationally sensitive when the Macedonian constitution was drawn up [...]

      Read the full comment in the early 1990s, and still is to this day.

      The second point that strikes me is that this *might* be a common constitution with all other Former Yugoslav republics, such as Slovenia and Croatia too. The Slovenes and Croats have got themselves embroiled in two long-running border disputes, one in Piran and the other near Varazdin, and it rather sounds as if their Constitutions say the same thing, as neither side will budge !

      I wonder what the Greek constitution says about borders and the "spatial plan", if there is a Greek equivalent ?

      Interesting topic, and certainly relevant to the current debate.

    • AnonymousJanetTue, Apr 07 2009

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      AnonymousJakovTue, Apr 07 2009

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    • Anonymous
      Aires Rating:
      neutral
      #67 21, 57, Mon, Apr 06 2009

      A stub in article 68
      The Assembly makes decisions
      concerning any changes in the boundaries of the Republic.
      A stub in article 91
      The Government of Macedonia
      proposes the spatial plan of the
      Republic

    • AnonymousBALKANGIRLMon, Apr 06 2009

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      AnonymousDr Cornelius van HelsingMon, Apr 06 2009

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    • Anonymous neutral
      #62 21, 02, Sun, Apr 05 2009

      to the Ram: Yes, of course; I recognise that these things do take some time. I shall now be temporarily silent (unless provoked by the awful Peter and hiding under his mother's skirts, to which I might be tempted by threatening to push Granny into the nettles. Janet will know what I mean, as I think will you).

    • Anonymous
      the Ram Rating:
      neutral
      #61 20, 40, Sun, Apr 05 2009

      DR Cornelius do give me some time to document
      Thanks

    • Anonymous neutral
      #60 18, 22, Sun, Apr 05 2009

      to the Ram - what 'disguised territorial claims' are these ? I had not heard of any specific to Macedonia, but there are general "safeguard clauses" in all constitutions of former Yugoslav states, mainly to guard against claims from a bordering former Yugoslav republic, and invoked re. Serbia, MonteNegro/Crna Gora, and Kosovo. (In the case of Slovenia and Croatia, these clauses have been involved in the current dispute over Piran and its seaboard, as Piran is in the Slovene / Croatian border area.) In Macedonia's case, they would relate mainly to Serbia, but one doesn't exclude any involvement of Albania, [...]

      Read the full comment where border disputes and blood feuds are what makes life interesting for the Albanians. Anyway, if you have any more info, please tell me more.

    • Anonymousgeorge s the MacedonianSun, Apr 05 2009

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      Anonymousthe RamSun, Apr 05 2009

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    • Anonymous neutral
      #57 16, 31, Sun, Apr 05 2009

      Yes - I agree that putting the Sun of Vergina on the flag was tactless at best. Surely another, less controversial, design might have been possible. (Actually, what the Moldovans did - using the three-stripes flag of Romania with an extra add-on coat-of-arms in the middle - wasn't such a bad idea, not least because nobody objected to it. Maybe Macedonia could do the same with the three-stripes Bulgarian flag ? (In return, of course, for Greek removal of that veto.)

    • Anonymous
      the Ram Rating:
      neutral
      #56 15, 08, Sun, Apr 05 2009

      To Cornelius
      Thanks for the comment
      About "the fornutate for the actual debate" I thoroughly agree
      St Paul is labeled "The Nations' Apostle"
      About The Truth and Reconcilliation" ia afraid it is too late it cold have been plausible under "Kiro Gligorov and
      Papandreou before the Government of the former maade the blunder
      of puting the Sun of Vergina on their flag" Nnow the international
      intertangling , both military and economic,makes it i think uunfeasable if not utopistuic.
      Nato does not give a Dime [...]

      Read the full comment about
      Fyrom nor Greece's and it's well-being or welfare Natn's, Alma Mater
      knows it very well.The "Aninmus in Consulendo Liber" should be removed . under the pressure of
      Economic and Political Globalization.

    • Anonymous
      Janet Rating:
      neutral
      #55 14, 39, Sun, Apr 05 2009

      Agreed. I am tired of Alexander this and Philip that wherever I go. Seriously folks they have both dead for a very LONG time now. Ancient history cannot be rewritten, what Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and other universities teach about the ancient Greeks is accurate. However, it is the more recent history (modern history) that needs to be dealt with.

    • Anonymous neutral
      #54 14, 23, Sun, Apr 05 2009

      Sorry - I should have added that I have in fact genuinely been an EU advisor to the Polish, Romanian, Serbian, and Moldovan governments, so I know of what I speak. (The worst moment was going on an official trip to Castle Bran, a.k.a. Dracula's castle, apart from a Romanian orphanage or two.) I do not recommend Bucharest as a pleasant city to walk about in.

    • AnonymousDr Cornelius van HelsingSun, Apr 05 2009

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    • Anonymous neutral
      #42 22, 58, Sat, Apr 04 2009

      to the Ram - You're quite right - I could have said "slow down this process" instead. But I am not sure they would listen, whatever the precise words were.

    • AnonymousThe RamSat, Apr 04 2009

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    • Anonymous
      The Ram Rating:
      neutral
      #40 22, 21, Sat, Apr 04 2009

      To Peter or whatever,
      You poor soul Dr Cornelius once gave you an advice "shut up" Mr Wlson reapeated the same thing in other words I , hoping that your knowedge of English is at least of elementary level, will state
      the following
      It is better to be sought a fool
      than openening your mouth and remove all doubts.
      Your last post shows at least a
      major psychological disturbance
      shall it be manic depressive or
      schizoid and either one enrobbed by fanatism. I am [...]

      Read the full comment sure hoping
      that you country has not many of the species.





    • AnonymousDr Cornelius van HelsingSat, Apr 04 2009

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      AnonymousDr Cornelius van HelsingFri, Apr 03 2009

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    • Anonymous neutral
      #22 21, 51, Thu, Apr 02 2009

      Megas, are you sure you took down the words of the song correctly ? It's quite possible to get these wrong, especially if you are not a native English-speaker. And by the way, what is a "Vardaskan" ? According to my dictionary it (or he) is a follower of Darth Vader in Star Wars and an item in the Jedi religion. Is this perhaps what you meant ?

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