World News

Greeks Protest Over Neighbor's Use of the Name Macedonia

Greeks Protest Over Neighbor's Use of the Name Macedonia

Hundreds of thousands of Greeks in the northern city of Thessaloniki rallied on Sunday to protest against the use of the name "Macedonia" in any solution to a row between Athens and Skopje over the name of the former Yugoslav republic.

"But it is not unreasonable to have the term Macedonia included in a compound name, with either a geographical or a chronological qualifier, for all uses", he said, "to make absolutely clear that nobody is claiming other people's land or history".

That division has led the major rival New Democracy to say the government must present a united front. "It is impressive", rally organiser Anastasios Porgialidis told AFP.

The rally drew members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party who had gathered around the statue of Alexander the Great along with local clergy.

More than 100,000 nationalist protesters crowded along Thessaloniki's waterfront on Sunday to demand that neighboring country Macedonia change its name.

Police said 284 buses had transported people from around Greece to the port city.

UN-mediated talks between the two countries' chief negotiators in NY on January 17 did not produce concrete results but some name suggestions were put forward for negotiation, according to media reports. Mr. Kammenos, who apart from leading the right-wing Independent Greeks party is also the country's defense minister, has insisted that the word Macedonia must not be part of its neighbor's name. "Macedonia is Greek and this is not negotiable", said protester Dimitris Triantafillidis, 50, a shop owner from the northern regional district of Pieria.

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The talks between Greece and Macedonia resumed in NY on Wednesday under the mediation of Matthew Nimetz, a personal envoy of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

On the other hand, Macedonia, according to Kathimerini would prefer more to use the name Republic of New Macedonia.

Both countries say they hope to reach an accord by June.

At the meeting, the prime ministers will talk about the process of the talks about the name dispute.

Zaev is expected to meet Tsipras on January 24 or January 25 on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, for high-level talks above those being done by Nimetz, who has failed for more than two decades to find an answer and only now resumed discussions after a three-year break.

However, he told Ethnos newspaper that he could understand "the concerns and sensitivities" of the Greeks of the north.

Until the row is resolved, Athens has agreed that the country can be referred to internationally as "FYROM" (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), the name under which it was admitted to the United Nations in 1993.


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