Greece breaches 'obligation' to Macedonia: UN court
Greece has breached its obligation to Macedonia by objecting to its neighbour's admission to NATO because of a disagreement over the former Yugoslav republic's name, the UN's highest court found Monday.
"Greece, by objecting to the admission of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to NATO, has breached its obligation" under an interim accord signed in September 1995, the International Court of Justice said in a press release in The Hague.
Macedonia lodged a complaint before the ICJ in November 2008, asking judges to order Greece to stop objecting to its NATO membership or that of "any other international, multilateral and regional organisations and institutions."
Greece blocked Macedonia's NATO invitation in 2008, and a year later it prevented the EU from starting accession talks with Skopje 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."
The court however Monday did not consider it necessary, contrary to what Macedonia sought, to order Greece from refraining in future to block its applications to membership of other international organisations.
Established in 1945, the ICJ is the UN's highest judicial organ and settles disputes between states.
© 2011 AFP