Greece presents counter-arguments at ICJ hearing

Just one day before expiration of six-month deadline, Greece presented its counter-arguments at Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the lawsuit filed by Macedonia.

Greek Ambassador Yiorgos Savvaidis and Foreign Ministry advisor Maria Telalian presented the memorandum to the ICJ on Tuesday.

Greek ministry said the memorandum includes legal, political and historical arguments that fully deny Skopje’s claims, Greek media reported. Greek authorities claim that there was no veto at the Bucharest summit but a consensus of all NATO members.

Macedonian authorities filed legal proceedings against Greece for blocking its NATO entry, claiming it violated the 1995 Interim Accord by blocking Macedonia’s invitation to NATO at Bucharest summit in April 2008.

Skopje argues that Athens violated the UN-sponsored interim accord signed by both sides by practically blocking its neighbor from joining NATO in April. Under the accord, Athens undertakes not to block Macedonia from entering international organizations as long as it is done under Macedonia’s UN provisional reference, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Macedonia submitted its arguments July 20th 2009, asking the court to bring Greece into compliance with its legal obligations under the Interim Accord, which is binding to both countries.

Greek authorities earlier told media that it was Skopje and not Athens that breached the interim accord.

The proceedings at the ICJ are expected to run up to five years. The ICJ’s decision on the mater is final and legally binding.

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