When German chancellor Angela Merkel hit out at “old-fashioned thinking” by those who used their vetos to block new members from joining Nato, she was referring to Russia and not Greece, her aides have assured Athens.
The assurances were a sequel to Greek media reports that Athens had been “irked” by what it suspected was a reference by Merkel to Greece having used its veto in 2008 to prevent an invitation being issued to Macedonia to join Nato.
Athens and Skopje are locked in a prolonged dispute over the use of the name Macedonia. Pending resolution of the dispute, which has defied United Nations-brokered attempts to resolve it, Athens has stood in the way of Skopje’s attempts to get into Nato and the European Union.
On March 28 2009, Greek daily Kathimerini said that the the Greek ambassador to Germany, Anastassios Kriekoukis, had asked for clarification from chancellor Merkel’s office after she seemed to accuse Athens of “old-fashioned thinking” in blocking the former Yugoslav republic from joining Nato.
“I stick to my position that we must incorporate the European democracies who want to and are in a position to contribute to our security,” said Merkel in a speech ahead of Nato’s 60th anniversary summit on April 3 and 4 in France and Germany.
“We must not allow others to attempt to deter this through a veto and because of an old-fashioned way of thinking in their spheres of influence,” Merkel said.
Merkel’s aides informed Kriekoukis that Merkel had not been referring to Greece but to Russia and its stance toward the possible Nato membership of Georgia and Ukraine.
Greek news agencies said that a Greek government spokesperson had said that if Merkel’s statement was read carefully, there could be no negative conclusions.
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