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International recognition of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 was delayed by Greece's objection to the new state's use of what it considered a Hellenic name and symbols. Greece finally lifted its trade blockade in 1995, and the two countries agreed to normalize relations, despite continued disagreement over FYROM's use of "Macedonia." FYROM's large Albanian minority and the de facto independence of neighbouring Kosovo continue to be sources of ethnic tension.

Update No: 070 (21/02/03)

The fact that the Greeks have assumed the EU presidency is a matter of first importance for the Macedonians, who find them prickly neighbours. This prickliness is because both dispute who is entitled to boast as their own the heritage of Hellenism, transmitted to posterity by one of the most extraordinary figures who ever lived, Alexander the Great, 'a world historical figure,' to use a phase of Hegel's, of gigantic proportions. 
Without his conquest of Egypt, Persia, the Punjab, Afghanistan and territories in between, the culture of Ancient Greece could have perished almost entirely, instead of spreading across the world and being preserved for Europe in the Alexandrian library. It could indeed, have shared the fate of the works of his tutor, Aristotle, most of which perished. Aristotle incidentally thought of his charge: "that headstrong boy could never understand anything of philosophy."
Aristotle became his tutor because Alexander was the son of Philip of Macedon, undoubtedly including modern FRY Macedonia, but also the northern province of Greece of the same name. Alexander had to conquer Athens before transmitting its culture to the vast areas he subdued. It is easy to see why the Greeks claim the palm.
The truth is neither the modern Macedonians nor the modern Greeks, who are both Slavs can claim the fair-haired Aryan Alexander as their own. Yet in a sense both can because he was born in Macedonia and made Greece an eternal treasure of the West, Hellas. Both countries can claim to be the homelands of the West, now going through a profound crisis in assaulting the homeland of human civilisation itself, Mesopotamia.
The point is worth making that just as Greece has traded enormously on its great past, so should Macedonia. The world, particularly Europe, owes so much to its greatest general (and he eclipses Napoleon; he never lost a battle) that, if Greece is given special treatment, just as it is, so should Macedonia be made a special case.

The EU steps in 
Indeed, appropriately enough the EU has approved its first military mission to Macedonia - taking over the small NATO-led peacekeeping operation there. The EU force of 450 is due to take over in March.
Small as it may be, the operation will be a historic debut for the EU itself. It will be a milestone in the EU's ambition to develop a European Security and Defence Policy, whose centrepiece will be a rapid reaction force of up to 60,000 troops.
President, Boris Trajkovski, approved the deployment in the country, especially as rogue elements in the disbanded Albanian Liberation Army are still making threatening noises. But they muster barely one hundred, no match at all for the new EU force of trained troops.
The EU is also considering taking over NATO's Bosnian peacekeeping force of 15,000 next year. The EU-led force will be open to augumentation from non-EU nations, including Turkey.

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Macedonian, Albanian power companies discuss power transmission link

The delegation of the Macedonian Power Company (ESM) led by general director, Pande Lazarev, met on 1st February in the Albanian town of Podgradec with his counterpart from the Albanian Electrical Corporation Andi Karshani, MIA News Agency has reported. 
They said that it was necessary to establish direct transmission link for exchange of electrical energy between Macedonia and Albania. The Albanian Electrical Corporation announced that it would return 60 million kWh of electricity to Macedonia, which were delivered previously by ESM. 
Lazarov said that Macedonia, as a member of the European Energy Association will support Albania's efforts for integration in this organization.

Macedonian company to start import of 150,000 tonnes of oil for reserves

The Mlaz Bogdanci [transport company] announced on 4th February that it will start the transport of 150,000 [metric] tons of oil derivatives for the needs of the Macedonian Stock Reserves Bureau. Skopje-based Makpetrol will be importing the oil, Macedonian Radio has reported. 
According to the Radio's findings, the reserves will be sufficient to meet the needs of the domestic market for a period of four months. 
In the next three months, Mlaz Bogdanci's tankers will transport oil derivatives from Jetoil's depots and store them in the country's stock reserves.

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