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The Greek ambassador on Wednesday denounced Macedonia’s prime minister as the most “anachronistic nationalist leader in Europe,” after the leader of Greece’s northern neighbor called for the recognition of Macedonians in Greece as an official minority group.

Ambassador Alexandros Mallias echoed his government’s anger over a letter sent to Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis by Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who also asked Greece to return property to Macedonians who fled Greece during the civil war from 1946 to 1949.

Greece accused the Macedonia leader of trying to distract attention from talks at the United Nations over the country’s name. The United Nations admitted the nation as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia because Greece objects to the use of the name, Macedonia, which is also the name of a northern Greece province.

“Gruevski is the most anachronistic leader in Europe,” Mr. Mallias said in a statement. “He is not representative of the new generation of European leaders who look forward. He is constantly stuck in the past.”

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