15 November, 2007
U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said on Wednesday that the Former Yugoslav Republic of 'Macedonia' (FYROM) "should not be denied an invitation to NATO for any reason other than failure to meet the substantive qualifications for entry."
Addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs Burns also said that "in Greece some have raised the possibility of vetoing an invitation to 'Macedonia' unless the "name issue" is resolved. While the United States agrees on the importance of resolving the name issue, we do not think that disagreement on the name alone is reason to block 'Macedonia's' membership in international organizations."
The U.S. official added that Washington supported the UN process led by Matthew Nimetz and the implementation of the 1995 Interim Agreement between Greece and FYROM, which, he said "allows 'Macedonia' to enter regional regional and
international organizations under the name of FYROM."
Burns also called on Skopje to show the necessary flexibility, noting Greece's sensibilities, which FYROM should take into consideration.
He also referred to what he called "visionary policy" of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis regarding Greek-Turkish relations, noting that there was no need on the part of Washington to mediate between Athens and Ankara since relations between them were steadily improving.
Burns finally expressed his support for the re-opening of the Halki School of Theology and the free exercise of the Ecumenical Patriarch's duties.
Source: Athens News Agency