In a severe blow to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) hopes of joining NATO, a U.S. official said FYROM will have to resolve its "name" dispute with Greece before it can become a member of NATO, the Balkan Insight website reports today (April 28, 2012).
Tina Kaidanow -- Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs -- told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs that the U.S. wishes to see a solution to the Greek-Macedonian "name" dispute before NATO can "extend a membership offer to Macedonia."
Similar words also came yesterday from Germany's Defense Ministry, which is hosting Macedonian Defense Minister Fatmir Besimi. Christian Schmidt -- State Secretary to the Ministry -- said "Macedonia's future membership in NATO and the EU will depend on the removal of the existing obstacles."
Greece has insisted that FYROM -- which became an independent nation as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991 -- remove the word "Macedonia" from its name, because a province in northern Greece bordering FYROM is also called Macedonia -- the birthplace of Alexander the Great.