ATHENS — Angered by Western recognition of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Greece closed its consulate in the Macedonian capital and cut off the country's main trade route Wednesday.
The Athens government claims that Macedonia has designs on Greece's northern province, also called Macedonia, and says these claims are reflected in Macedonia's name, flag and symbols, which Athens says are historically Greek.
Referring to Macedonia by the name of its capital, Skopje, Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou said that Greece has run out of patience.
"From the disintegration of former Yugoslavia, and the creation of the Skopje problem, until today, Skopje has not taken a single step showing moderation or good sense," he told a Cabinet meeting.
"The Greek government has decided to suspend the activities of its consulate in Skopje, and the suspension of goods to and from Skopje through the port of Salonika, excepting those that are absolutely necessary for humanitarian reasons," he said.
Greece has no diplomatic relations with Macedonia; its consulate there was left over from the breakup of the former Yugoslav federation.
Most of landlocked Macedonia's trade and fuel passes through Salonika, about 43 miles from its southern border. Alternative routes through Albania and Bulgaria are far longer and are over poor roads.
Macedonia says it has no claims on Greek territory. Macedonian leaders were meeting Wednesday night to discuss Greece's action.