Greek-Macedonian spat splatters Iceland

macgre1The ongoing Greek-Macedonian dispute has spilled over to affect Icelanders…in Washington DC and Norway.

The issue came up when Hjalmar Hannesson, Iceland’s ambassador to the USA decided to screen the new film by Norway-based Icelander Sigurjon Einarsson.

Einarsson’s film is called ‘A Name is a Name’ and is set in Macedonia and explores the country’s relationship with Greece, which claims the name Macedonia is already in use by a region in Greece and cannot therefore be used by the nation of Macedonia. This seemingly minor issue has soured relations between Skopje and Athens since Macedonian independence in 1991 and has even stalled Macedonian intentions to join the EU and other organisations.

Macedonian sources claim that Athens threatened to hinder Iceland’s own EU application procedure if Hannesson decided to show the movie. The proposed date of the private screening and whether or not Hannesson has chosen to go ahead are not yet known.

From MINA, the Macedonian International News Agency:

“On October 21, Icelandic Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Hjalmar Hannesson, invited a select group of invitees to his Washington, DC residence for a screening of a film by Icelandic filmmaker Sigurjon Einarsson.

“Upon hearing of this, Greece’s foreign ministry via its Embassy in DC had sent a communique to Iceland’s US Ambassador not to showcase the movie, hinting Athens could made life difficult for Reykyavik’s application for EU membership.

““A Name is a Name” movie was being shown as a part in spreading Icelandic made culture in the US. This may be the first time a foreign Ambassador is told what movie he can’t show at his private residence by a foreign country. Pesky Athenians.”

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