Greek Prime Minsiter Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday night vetoed a NATO invitation to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to join, during an alliance crucial summit in Bucharest.
Addressing the leaders' dinner, which signaled the opening of the summit, Karamanlis outlined Greece's positions on the isuue, underlining that it cannot consent to a FYROM NATO entry invitation if the "name issue" of the former Yugoslav republic is not resolved first.
France, Italy, Spain, Iceland and Luxembourg expressed their support to Greece's positions, while Hungary, Slovakia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany viewed with understanding the Greek arguments.
Opposing the Greek position and supporting an invitation without conditions to FYROM, were Turkey, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Lithuania.
Denmark, Bulgaria, and Norway, although moving in the same direction, were less enthousiastic. Canada, Great Britain and Portugal refrained from taking a stand.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the wormest supporter of the Greek positions, who said in his address that "We stand in solidarity with Greeks, we believe that a solution must be found. I have Hungarian roots, but I also have Greek roots and I fully assume them."
During a reception preceding the official dinner, Premier Karamanlis held a brief conversation with U.S. President George W. Bush.
In a related development, NATO spokesman James Appathurai told reporters in Brussels after the end of the Bucharest dinner, that Greece made clear that despite the fact that it wants to see FYROM joining NATO the soonest possible, it is not possible to give its consent as long as the neighbouring republic's "name issue" remains unresolved.
According to an ANA-MPA dispatch from the Belgian capital, Appathurai added that, given Greece's position, efforts for resolving the "name issue" should continue, noting at the same time that all NATO member-states wish for a compromise solution as soon as possible, without this meaning that concrete timeframes have been set.