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Macedonia Accuses Greece of Flouting Treaty by Blocking NATO, EU Bids

The president of Macedonia says Greece is ignoring its international obligations by blocking his country's bid to join the European Union and NATO.

Branko Crevenkovski told the U.N. General Assembly Thursday, that membership in those organizations is one of Macedonia's top priorities.

He said Athens is violating a 1995 agreement under which Greece is legally bound not to block Macedonian efforts to gain membership in international organizations.

Greece and Macedonia are embroiled in a long-running dispute over Macedonia's name. Earlier this year, Greece blocked a NATO invitation to join the alliance because of the dispute.

Macedonia was the name of the country as a part of the former Yugoslav republic, and is also the name of a historic region of northern Greece. Athens says use of the name implies a claim on Greek territory, But Mr. Crevenkovski today called the accusation absurd.

The European Union says Macedonia must improve its internal politics before talks can begin on the country's EU membership. In particular, EU officials have said the country must improve its political stability and the conduct of its elections.

Macedonia's general elections in June were marred by violence and intimidation in mainly ethnic Albanian areas.