UN court hearings into Macedonia name dispute

19th March 2011, Comments 8 comments

The UN's highest court will hold public hearings next week in the hopes of settling a 20-year-old row between Greece and Macedonia about the former Yugoslav state's name.

Macedonia will address the court on Monday and Tuesday, followed by Greece on Thursday and Friday, according to a schedule published by the International Court of Justice.

Both countries will make final statements on Monday and Tuesday the following week before the judges retire to consider their judgment.

In an application filed in November 2008, Macedonia claimed that Greece violated its rights by objecting to its application to join NATO.

It asked the court to order Greece "to cease and desist from objecting in any way, whether directly or indirectly, to (Macedonia's) membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nor any other international multilateral and regional organisations and institutions of which (Greece) is a member."

The two countries have been at loggerheads since Macedonia proclaimed independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

Greece has blocked Macedonia's bid to join the European Union and NATO until it changes the name, which is the same as that of a northern Greek province.

Athens says the use of the name implies a claim on Greek territory.

UN-led negotiations have proven fruitless.

Macedonia was recognised by the United Nations in 1993 under the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

More than 120 nations, including Russia and the United States, have recognised the landlocked Balkan country under its constitutional name: Republic of Macedonia.

© 2011 AFP

3 Comments To This Article

  • Chris posted:

    on 19th March 2011, 21:14:09 - Reply

    Nicely put Maria. I am Macedonian also. We are united on this.
  • MariaMKD posted:

    on 19th March 2011, 12:44:26 - Reply

    I am Macedonian and have every right to be named Macedonian and no one has right to take away that from me. Specifically, Macedonia's neighboring countries who have annexed territories of ancient Macedonia, exiled and assimilited the Macedonians. In fact, before Greece annexed 52% and the most archeological Macedonian land, the Macedonians were majority of the population living in what is today the province Macedonia. Today the people who live in the province Macedonia in Greece have majority of them resetled from minor Asia now finding themselves from the Greek Government propaganda that they are "Macedonians" thus ignoring the rights of the true Macedonians who have been living in the whole region of Macedonia for thousands of years. Shame on you Greece. Let the truth win for a change and every country in the world recognize Macedonia and have access to every international organization that Macedonia want to join by their name.
  • terry2toes posted:

    on 19th March 2011, 09:41:39 - Reply

    The FYROM people have no right to use a Greek name and identity to describe themselves. I am a Macedonian and I am offended that the Slav population use my identity to describe themselves. EU and NATO are correct to block their entry untill they stop the human rights abuse agains Greece.