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Macedonia's president cautious on Kosovo, dispute with Greece

Macedonia's president cautious on Kosovo, dispute with Greece

The presidents of Macedonia and Montenegro refused to be drawn Tuesday on when their countries would recognize the independence of neighboring Kosovo.
"The Republic of Macedonia will decide its view when we deem it most appropriate for our interests," said President Branko Crvenkovski on a visit to European Union headquarters.
"We don't see any reason to take a rushed decision," added Montenegro's President Filip Vujanovic.
Crvenkovski said Macedonia would follow the position of NATO and the European Union on Kosovo, but pointed out that nations in the two organizations have to yet to agree a common stand.
The United States and most EU nations have moved to recognize Kosovo's independence from Serbia, but Spain, Romania and some others have refused.
Macedonia and Montenegro share borders with Serbia, which is vehemently opposed to the breakaway moves by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority. The two countries also have ethnic Albanian minorities and some fear Kosovo's independence could inspire Albanian separatism in the border regions.
Olli Rehn, the EU official in charge of the membership process, appealed to Serbia not to turn its back on the West despite anger over Kosovo and the strong backing the Serbs have received from Russia.
"Serbia has a very real and tangible European perspective," Rehn said after separate talks with Crvenkovski and Vujanovic. "I trust that the Serbian leaders will pay attention to the fact that 70 percent of Serbian citizens are in favor of membership of the European Union."
Rehn also said he was hopeful the EU could sign a pre-membership deal with Bosnia in April.
Crvenkovski was cautious about the latest U.N. effort to end a dispute with Greece over his country's name which is threatening to derail Macedonia's efforts to join NATO and the European Union.
"We are in these negotiations with the desire and intention to find a solution," Crvenkovski said of the U.N.-sponsored talks. "We have the will to be constructive, but we also have red lines which we will not cross."
He refused to go into details on his response to the solutions put forward by the U.N. to end the 17-year dispute with Greece, which argues the name 'Macedonia' could imply territorial claims on the northern Greek province also called Macedonia.
Greek and Macedonian newspapers last week published five alternative names that they said the U.N. had put forward. According to Macedonian media, two of the suggestions would be acceptable: Democratic Republic of Macedonia and Independent Republic of Macedonia.
Macedonia is officially referred to at the U.N. and other international bodies as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia _ the name Athens uses.


Updated : 2021-05-14 10:36 GMT+08:00