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Macedonia Leaves NATO Summit Early in Protest Over Membership Delay


Macedonia's delegation says it is leaving the NATO summit in Bucharest early to protest the alliance's failure to invite it to begin membership talks because of a dispute over the country's name.

Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki told reporters in the Romanian capital that the Macedonian delegation will leave shortly after a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush.

The Macedonian News Agency (MIA) reports that President Branko Crvenkovski and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski have canceled all other meetings scheduled for later Thursday and Friday.

NATO leaders said Macedonia fulfilled requirements for a membership, but held off extending the invitation after Greece threatened a veto.

Greece demands that Macedonia change its name, which is the same as the name of a northern Greek province. Greece contends that the former Yugoslav republic's refusal to change its name implies territorial claims, a charge Macedonia denies.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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