DE RUEHTH #2068 2901427
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 171427Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0534
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHSQ/AMEMBASSY SKOPJE PRIORITY 1091 C O N F I D E N T I A L ATHENS 002068
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2017
SUBJECT: GREECE/MACEDONIA: POLITICAL PARTIES REACT TO FM
Classified By: POLCOUNS ROBIN QUINVILLE FOR REASONS 1.4 (B,D).
1. (C) Greek focus on the Macedonia name issue continued on
October 16 when FM Dora Bakoyannis briefed the Cabinet on
developments. In her comments after the meeting, FM
Bakoyannis again stressed the importance of finding a
mutually acceptable name that is &composite and distinct,8
distinguishing the country as a separate geographical entity
from Greek Macedonia. She also noted that "Greek diplomacy
is awaiting initiatives and a new proposal by Mr. Nimetz."
FM Bakoyannis added the issue would be discussed by the
National Foreign Affairs Council -- a body comprised of all
of the political parties in Parliament -- once opposition
party PASOK has elected its new leadership.
2. (C) Several of Greece's political parties took the
opportunity to express their views following FM Bakoyannis'
remarks to the press. Several New Democracy party leaders
reiterated the need for a name describing the country's
geographic identity without using the term "Macedonia.8
George Karatzaferis, leader of extreme-right Popular Orthodox
Rally (LAOS) stated that LAOS would oppose any solution with
the word "Macedonia" in the new name. The (Communist) KKE
and (Left Coalition) SYRIZA have long favored a compound name
as a solution. SYRIZA leader Alekos Alavanos added that the
new name should contain the term "Macedonia" and be mutually
acceptable to the two sides. Finally, given its internal
leadership struggles, major opposition party PASOK has not
recently laid out any formal position on the issue.
3. (C) In addition to the statements in the press, GoG
public affairs officials are increasingly focused on this
issue in bilateral discussions. In a courtesy call by
incoming IO and AIO on Monday, Minister Of Communication
Roussopoulos cited the name issue as the key foreign policy
issue facing the new U.S. Ambassador, noting that pressure is
building on the Greek government to maintain a hard line,
including from the extreme right. Last Friday, MFA Spokesman
Koumoutsakos noted that a Greek veto "is not only possible,
but likely unless things change. As a regional leader,
Greece can't be humiliated like this by such a small country,
and you shouldn't want us to be. We certainly can't afford
to lose twice, on this issue and on Kosovo independence.8
On Oct. 16, according to another Embassy media source, the
Foreign Minister herself had lunch with top-circulation,
populist daily Ta Nea, telling the editors in confidence that
the &young people8 now in power in Skopje just don't get it
when it comes to Balkan history.
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