Greece Criticizes New Macedonian Statue of Alexander the Great

Posted June 21st, 2011 at 10:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Greece is criticizing Macedonia for erecting a huge statue of the ancient warrior king Alexander the Great in the center of Skopje.

The French news Agency quotes Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis as calling the statue a “provocation.”

Hundreds of Macedonians cheered as a crane lowered the statue of Alexander astride a horse. The statue is part of the Macedonian government's efforts to improve the appearance of the capital.

Alexander the Great was born in the ancient capital of Greek Macedonia in the year 355 BC and conquered the Persian empire before dying at age 32.

Macedonia is the name of both a region of Greece and the former Yugoslav republic.

Greece has blocked Macedonia from joining NATO and the European Union because of the long-running dispute over the name.

Greece says the country's use of the name implies territorial ambitions in Greece, which Macedonia denies.

Talks to settle the dispute have failed.