Gruevski visit a concern

first_imgThe new Ambassador of Greece in Australia was reassuring regarding the impending visit of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s (FYROM) Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, which is expected to take place at the end of October. In his first extensive interview to a Greek Australian newspaper, the Greek Ambassador Alexis Christopoulos revealed that in meetings he had with Australian diplomats it was made clear that there is no shift in Australia’s position in reference to the naming issue. “I have received assurances in the most categorical way that Australia’s policy on the matter will not change,” Mr Christopoulos assured Neos Kosmos English Edition, (NKEE).However he was quick to add that regardless of these assurances “we should remain vigilant” because experience teaches that “policy reversals of the eleventh hour are not uncommon”. Australia officially recognises Greece’s neighbouring country with its United Nations (UN) sanctioned name of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). This recognition stands, until the two countries agree in a mutually accepted solution. Greece and FYROM are currently in negotiations under the auspices of the UN to resolve the long standing name dispute. Greece is refusing to accept the name “Republic of Macedonia” which the neighbouring country has adopted in its constitution. Mr Gruevski’s imminent visit, however, has alerted Greek Australian organisations as concerns are expressed of a possible change in Australian policy.FYROM’s PM is expected during his visit among other things to sign a bilateral Social Security agreement similar to the one already in effect between Greece and Australia since October 2008. Mr Christopoulos noted that to this point FYROM has not complied with it’s commitment to the United Nations vis-a-vis the name dispute and more so with the conditions of good relations with its neighbour, Greece. “All these are known to our governing friends in Australia and surely the strong presence of the Greek community has played an important role in that,” the Greek Ambassador said.He indicated his awareness of the initiatives undertaken by Greek Australians to ensure that Australia will not change it’s position on the issue but he expressed his disapproval of any possible overeactions by Greek organisations during Mr Gruevski’s visit. “Each country and each state have their own mentality. The active tackling of things within the constraints and the country’s mentality is the most appropriate way,” he replied when asked which is the best way for the Greek Australians to mobilise. Mr Christopoulos also talked about the conversation he had with Governor General Quentin Bryce during the presentation of his credentials ceremony that took place in Canberra on September 17. The Governor General, he said, spoke with the warmest words about the Greeks in Australia. Additionally, she asked Mr Christopoulos to help in the strengthening of classical studies in Australia. The new Ambassador of Greece differentiated the issue of classical studies from the crisis faced by certain Modern Greek Departments in Universities around the country due to the apparent low numbers of enrolments that they are attracting. Mr Christopoulos, although aware of the problems faced by Modern Greek in Australia, underscored his desire to examine the situation more closely before he commented or proposed any initiatives.It should be noted that the Greek diplomat has a personally interest in boosting the stocks of classical studies in Australia. Although classical studies may not evidently provide the labour market orientation of courses such as accounting, commerce and law, Mr Christopoulos believes the trend is reversible.To this end he highlighted the recent shift towards the study of the classics in prestigious universities in the United States, Great Britain, and Germany among others. “This by no means reflects the numbers of students studying classics 60 years ago but it is certainly a start,” Mr Christopoulos emphasised. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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