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27 February, 2002
Greece reiterated on Tuesday that it wants a solution to the decades-old difference over the name of the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
"We all want a solution to be found for FYROM's name within a framework of international rules and based on the defense of our national interests," government spokesman Christos Protopapas said during his daily press briefing, which on Tuesday took place in the northern city of Thessaloniki.
He added that certain discussions with Skopje are continuing under the UN's auspices, although not at present.
Athens has been at odds with FYROM for the past decade over the issue of the land-locked Balkan state's name, insisting that the word "Macedonia" should not be included in the name of the former Yugoslav republic as it implies expansionist designs against Greece's own large northern province, Macedonia, as well as being a historical misrepresentation.
However, relations between Greece and the more than 10-year-old country to its north have dramatically improved since the two countries signed an interim agreement in New York under the UN's auspices seven years ago. Currently, the 'name issue' ranks as the only difference between Athens and Skopje.
Under the terms of that agreement, both sides are to proceed with negotiations to find a mutually acceptable solution for the "name issue".
Source: Athens News Agency