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FACTDROP: Macedonia waits anxiously for court verdict on name dispute with Greece


Macedonia waits anxiously for court verdict on name dispute with Greece

The controversial bronze statue of the ancient warrior king Alexander the Great arrived on June 14th  at the main square in the Macedonian capital, Skopje.

Πηγή: People's Daily
By Xinhua
Dec 5 2011

SKOPJE, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Macedonia is eagerly waiting for a ruling from theInternational Court of Justice on its suit against Greece over name issue between thetwo countries. The court will announce its verdict on Monday in The Hague.

A Macedonian delegation led by the country's Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki will beon the spot to hear the verdict.

Macedonia sued Greece in November of 2008, saying that Athens violated theagreement the two countries signed in 1995 to forbid Greece from blocking Macedoniaapplying for membership in international institutions under the name of the FormerYugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Greece thwarted the efforts by its small northern neighbour to join NATO in April of2008 at a NATO summit, saying that Macedonia can be a member only if a solution tothe name dispute is reached.

The two neighboring countries are involved in a 20-year dispute over a name dispute.Greece is opposed to the use of the name of Macedonia by its northern neighbor,saying that it implies it has territorial claims to Greece's northern province of the samename.

Macedonia has said that Greece breached the agreement, while Greece counteredthat Macedonia erred in the first place long before the NATO summit by naming itsairport and highways after Greek historical figures, such as Alexander, and stealingGreek history.

Macedonia then brought the case before the international court in The Hague,accusing Greece of violating the agreement and asking Greece not to repeat that kindof behavior in the future.

Greece, on the other hand, has appealed to the court, saying that this case does notfall under its jurisdiction and that the arguments made by the other side are unfounded.

International law experts in Macedonia have said that, although the court's ruling wouldnot be binding, a positive decision can at least improve Macedonia's position in thenegotiations over the name issue.

"A possible positive decision by the court should have a favorable impact onMacedonia's opportunity to join NATO at the alliance's next summit for 2012 inChicago," Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said on Friday.

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