Strasbourg, France, June 25 (RFE/RL) -- Macedonian President
Kiro Gligorov reiterated that his country will not give in to
Greek demands to change its name.
Grigorov made the vow at a session of the parliamentary assembly of
the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His country was admitted to the pro-democracy, pan-European body - as well as to the United Nations and other international bodies - under the cumbersome name of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, because of Greek objections.
Greece says the name, Macedonia, implies territorial claims on its
own northern province of the same name.
Gligorov said there is not a single person in his country - neither
in government nor in the opposition - who would agree to drop the
name Macedonia. He said this would amount to, what he called, "capitulation of our nation, our name and our dignity."
This prompted a Greek representative, Aristotelis Pavlidis, to ask
whether there was any point in continuing negotiations between Greece
and Macedonia under UN auspices in New York. The talks were convened
to settle outstanding issues last year when Greece dropped a
long-standing economic blockade against its northern neighbor.
Gligorov said Macedonia is always ready for dialogue, mutual
understanding and compromise, as long as, in his words, "compromise
would not mean loss of our national identity."