Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New round of Skopje-Athens: Nimetz presents no new proposal for Macedonia's name

Matthew Nimetz, UN mediator in Skopje-Athens dispute over Macedonia's name, presented Thursday in New York no new proposal for the name, but only suggestions about how the talks should be run, BBC - Macedonian language program reported. - The mediator offered some suggestions, but not a proposal for a concrete name. He presented his opinion on how the talks should be organized to lead to a solution, as well as some elements on the solution itself. Some of those elements are compatible with our (Macedonia's) position, some not. He expressed readiness to visit the region, the capitals of both countries, and to meet the leadership of the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Greece, Macedonian negotiator Nikola Dimitrov said after today's new round of negotiations.

Nimetz told BBC that he urged both parties to consider all possibilities so that a solution to the dispute could be found within a reasonable time frame.

- I believe a solution to an issue that divides two neighbouring countries is very much in the interests of both parties and would also greatly contribute to regional peace and security. In an effort to assist the parties in this process I respectfully made some suggestions in the form of a draft framework for their consideration as a basis for an honorable and fair resolution. I have urged Ambassadors Dimitrov and Vassilakis to bring these suggestions to their Governments for study. These negotiations under the Secretary-General's auspices will continue in an effort to reach a resolution. I have indicated a willingness to go to Athens and Skopje in the near future to consult with the two Governments more intensively. Both Ambassador Dimitrov and Ambassador Vassilakis will discuss such a mission with their Governments, Nimetz said.

Earlier, Macedonia's top officials said the country's position on the matter would be reiterated at the new round of negotiations, namely the double formula - one name which will be agreed for bilateral communication with Greece and the constitutional name for the rest of the world.

Preservation of the right of the constitutional name and its international usage is fundamental pillar of identity and dignity of the nation, Macedonian top officials assessed at the meeting prior to the meeting of the officials of the two countries Nikola Dimitrov and Adamantios Vassilakis at the UN HQ.

For the last few days Greek authorities said in several occasions that there was a possibility for Athens to accept a complex name that would include the word 'Macedonia'.

For 17 years Greece has been denying Macedonia's right of its constitutional name, saying that it could imply territorial aspirations to the Greek province that bears the same name.

Due to Greek objections, Macedonia entered the UN in 1993 under the provisional name, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM, pending a resolution. Afterwards, Macedonia and Greece were asked to launch talks for ironing the differences over the name, which was done initially under the aegis of Syrus Vence, and afterwards - Matthew Nimetz. The negotiations in New York are still underway. For the last few years, some formal, informal proposals have been presented, which were not acceptable for the one or other party.

So far, Macedonia has established diplomatic ties with more than 160 countries. A total of 120 countries have already recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name, including three permanent UN Security Council members - the United States, Russia and China.

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