A Greek foreign ministry spokesman on Wednesday was queried over the pending case before the International Court of Justice at The Hague (ICJ) brought by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) -- a NATO and EU hopeful -- against Greece. The one-time Yugoslav republic, a landlocked state established in 1991 in the heart of the southern Balkans, claims that EU and NATO member-state Greece violated the 1995 interim agreement, which amongst others, stipulates that Athens would not block the former's entry into international organisations under the provisional name "fYRoM" -- a claim that Greek leadership has flatly and repeatedly rejected.

Referring more to the substance of the so-called "name issue", spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras noted that the pre-election season in fYRoM at present does not facilitate a solution to the difference.

"Greece is ready to take steps (forward), and we are awaiting reciprocation from the new (fYRoM) government. We want a conclusive agreement, which will be final and not with notations of the 'ad referendum' type," he said, reiterating that any agreement must apply to all (erga omnes) and should include a geographic qualifier.

"After the elections we expect the new government (in Skopje) to arrive at the negotiations table with genuine volition for a solution to this difference and the country's accession to Euro-Atlantic structures."

In answer to an unrelated question, Delavekouras said Greece's general consul in the southeast Albanian town of Korce is not being replaced, rather, the latter's term at the diplomatic post wound up.

Nevertheless, the spokesman said Athens is "constantly monitoring" the situation in the neighbouring country, particularly instances of "nationalistic rhetoric", "which is not compatible with the European framework in which the neighbouring country wants to be included," as he said.

In conclusion, Delavekouras said Greece wants a constant upgrading of bilateral relations.