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Macedonia's President Hails U.S. Recognition Of Name

4 November 2004 -- Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski today praised the United States for recognizing the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia by its disputed name, "Macedonia."

There has not yet been a public announcement from the United States about the decision. But Crvenkovski described today as a "great day for Macedonia and for all Macedonians wherever they are."

Crvenkovski also pledged to not let the decision affect relations with Greece, which has disputed the name. "I want to send a message to the Greek government and to the Greek people that the Republic of Macedonia is strongly determined to continue to build friendly, sincere, good-neighborly relations."

Earlier today, Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis said his country has lodged a protest with the U.S. ambassador to Athens. Molyviatis told reporters the U.S. decision may result in what he called "many negative effects."

Greece has argued the use of the name Macedonia -- which is also the name of Greece's northern province -- could imply territorial claims by its northern neighbor. The two neighbors have been involved in UN-led talks for a name acceptable to both sides for more than a decade.