ATHENS -- Greece began enforcing its embargo Thursday against the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia by suspending at Thessaloniki port the loading and unloading of ships carrying goods from or bound for its northern neighbor.
The semi-official Athens News Agency said the embargo came into effect a day after Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou told reporters he was closing the Greek consulate general in Skopje and suspending the use of Thessalonki port by the former Yugoslav state.
Deputy Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who is also the premier's son, said the measures were aimed at 'bringing Skopje to its senses.'
The embargo has affected three vessels, the Sri Lankan 'Kalma,' the Italian-flagged 'Tivemar' and the Russian-flagged 'Gutoznik Mour,' ANA said.
The 'Kalma' was loading timber from the former Yugoslav republic but had to sail with an incomplete cargo when the operation was suspended.
Customs officials at a border checkpoint between the two countries said they were awaiting clarification from Athens on whether the embargo also applied to goods that had not passed through Thessaloniki port.
Greece's state-owned EKO oil refinery at Thessaloniki said it was suspending the shipment of refined petroleum products to the former Yugoslav state, after receiving instructions from the Public Petroleum Corporation, or DEP by its Greek initials.
Much of the oil refined at the EKO plant is imported through Thessaloniki port.
Papandreou announced the new measures after a massive crowd in Thessaloniki marched on the U.S. consulate to protest U.S. recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Yugoslavia, FYROM, last week.
Greece opposes the use of the name 'Macedonia' by the state, saying it implied territorial ambitions on an adjoining Greek province of the same name. Athens officially refers to the republic either as 'Skopje,' the name of its capital, or as 'FYROM.'