Greece Accepts Macedonia’s U.N. Entry But Opposes Its Flag
ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ The government said today it accepted a compromise plan to allow Macedonia to join the United Nations, but only if the former Yugoslav state’s flag does not fly outside U.N. headquarters.
Greece opposes the flag because it includes the Star of Vergina, a 16-rayed star that was the emblem of the Macedonian dynasty of Alexander the Great, the 4th century B.C. warrior-king who ruled Greece. Macedonia adopted the flag late last year.
″The flag issue is one from which the government will not retreat,″ government spokesman Vasilis Magginas said.
Greece’s government has opposed international recognition for Macedonia unless it changes its name, arguing the name is historically Greek and its use implies claims on the northern Greek province called Macedonia.
Diplomats proposed a compromise that would allow Greece’s northern neighbor to become a U.N. member under the temporary name of ″Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia″ while the two nations try to resolve the dispute.
The draft resolution calls for U.N. mediation to settle on a final name for Macedonia and to work on measures to build trust between the two nations.
Measures sought by Greece include border guarantees, changes in Macedonia’s constitution to remove articles that allegedly reflect territorial ambitions and the cessation of hostile propaganda. It also wants its neighbor to stop using Greek symbols, such as the Star of Vergina.
The Macedonian issue is highly charged in Greece and the Star of Vergina is visible on everything from bus tickets to lapel pins.
Premier Constantine Mitsotakis survived an opposition censure motion in Parliament on the issue early today. The opposition accused the government of ″national disgrace″ for accpeting the compromise on the name.