UN Court Says Greece Wrong To Block Macedonia To NATO


Greece was in the wrong when it blocked Macedonia’s ‎admission to NATO because of a dispute over the former ‎Yugoslav republic’s name, the UN’s highest court ruled Monday.‎

The 2008 action violated a provisional agreement reached in ‎‎1995 to end the long-running row, the International Court of ‎Justice (ICJ) ruled, saying Athens had “breached its obligation.”‎ Macedonia lodged a complaint before the ICJ shortly after ‎NATO was forced to turn it down for membership because of ‎Greece’s objection.‎ In 2009, Greece prevented the EU from starting accession talks ‎with Skopje, an official candidate since 2005, despite ‎recommendations from the European Commission.‎

Greece alleges that use of the name Macedonia suggests a ‎territorial claim to the northern Greek province of the same ‎name, while Skopje maintains that changing the name would be ‎a denial of its own national identity and language.‎ Macedonia was admitted to the United Nations in 1993 under ‎the provisional name of the “Former Yugoslav Republic of ‎Macedonia.”‎

More than 120 countries, including Russia and the United ‎States, however, have recognised the Balkan country under the ‎name of “Republic of Macedonia.”‎

Skopje had asked the ICJ to order Greece to stop objecting to its ‎membership in “any other international, multilateral and regional ‎organisations and institutions.”‎

The court however ruled out making such an order, saying it did ‎not consider it necessary.‎ Macedonia struck a conciliatory tone as it hailed the ruling.

Athens said for its part that it was “reviewing” the ruling, but ‎insisted that it did not directly address the long-running ‎diplomatic wrangle with Skopje over Macedonia’s official name, ‎which Athens says it remains committed to resolving through ‎UN-supervised talks.‎ ‎”With full respect for the ICJ as the principal judicial organ of the ‎United Nations, Greece is reviewing the decision,” the ministry ‎said.‎ ‎”Greece will continue to pursue negotiations in good faith to ‎reach a mutually acceptable solution,” it said, AFP reported.


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