Clinton to urge Papandreou to settle Macedonia feud

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The Independent Online
IN A NEW test of his beleaguered Balkans policy, President Clinton will today seek to persuade the Greek Prime Minister, Andreas Papandreou, to settle his country's the feud with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and end the embargo that some fear could add a second front to the conflict raging in Bosnia.

The visit of the Prime Minister of Greece, which holds the presidency of the European Union, has been overshadowed by the Goradze crisis, but in diplomatic terms the potential minefields are scarcely less explosive, and have already ignited an open dispute between the State Department and the White House. The row with Macedonia and Athens' support of Serbia have turned US- Greek relations into an important factor in the Balkan equation.

Although Washington recognised Macedonia two months ago, and 550 US soldiers are there as United Nations peace-keepers, it has not named an ambassador. This is seen as a gesture to the strident Greek- American lobby, linked to the President through a close aide, George Stephanopoulos. The White House insists it is merely showing prudence. But State Department officials maintain the delay has merely encouraged Greek intransigence.

One piece of summit symbolism sums up the uncertainty. Mr Papandreou brought his host a present - a crystal and gold rendering of Pandora's Box. According to the myth, after the box was opened only Hope remained inside, while every human evil was let loose - a metaphor for the Balkans if the crises in Macedonia and Bosnia fuse.

ATHENS - Greece yesterday ordered the expulsion of an Albanian diplomat, the second in 10 days, AFP reports. The expulsion follows Albania's refusal to reverse a decision cutting Greek diplomatic representation. In Tirana, police arrested four ethnic Greek Albanians in a crackdown on 'anti-constitutional' elements, the Public Order ministry said. The four included an official from the Greek-minority Omonia party in the southern town of Gjirokaster, the ministry said.