Israel FM Advises Direct Skopje-Athens Dialogue

Direct dialogue between Macedonia and Greece is the best way of overcoming the long lasting bilateral “name” dispute, visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told media in Skopje.

“Direct dialogue between the two parties is the best way to resolve the issue. Both Greece and Macedonia are stable and they have developed good cooperation,” Lieberman said.

He expressed hope that Macedonia would soon overcome the name obstacle and join NATO and the EU. Skopje’s progress towards membership is currently blocked by Athens, which insists a solution to the name row be found before it will support Skopje’s membership in the organisations.

Lieberman arrived in Skopje on Monday for a two-day official visit, and was accompanied by a business delegation interested in boosting cooperation with Macedonia.

On Monday the foreign minister, who is also a deputy prime minister, stressed that the world and the region has recently seen an increase in radical groups, which is worrisome.

“What we see today across the world is a kind of terror. You remember the latest explosion in Moscow, then Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. There was an attempted terrorist attack in New York. In my view, there is a big concern in the region in terms of the penetration of radical groups throughout the world,” Lieberman said.

Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki stressed that in Macedonia there is no place for extremism, pointing at last week’s police operation at the border with Kosovo where a large stash of weapons was seized.

Lieberman on Tuesday paid his respects at the monument to the victims of the Holocaust in Skopje.

He was accompanied by Milososki during a ceremony at the old tobacco plant in the Macedonian capital from where, during the Second World War, the Bulgarian authorities sent several thousand Macedonian Jews to Nazi death camps.

The foreign minister also met with Macedonian President Georgi Ivanov, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanovski.

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