Friday, September 05, 2008

US 'Prepares Deal' on Macedonia Name Row

The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is reported to be preparing to present a plan for resolving the ‘name row’ between Greece and Macedonia on September 23.

This is according to unnamed diplomats as cited in local media but there has been no official confirmation.

According to the source, Rice would come forward with the plan in the presence of the Macedonian and Greek foreign ministers. The plan would be presented before the United Nations Security Council a day after, on September 24.

Meanwhile Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis confirmed to media that Greece is ready to veto Macedonia’s bid to start European Union accession talks which Skopje is hoping to receive a date for this autumn.

Asked whether Athens would accept the name “Northern Macedonia” Bakoyannis said that Athens would like to see a name with a geographical prefix for its northern neighbour and that this name contains one.

Media previously said some variations of this name might be in the pipeline.

On Monday, media in Greece suggested that the UN mediator in the row, the US diplomat Matthew Nimetz allegedly warned Macedonia’s Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski that he would freeze talks for six months if Gruevski continues with his provocative statements.

Gruevski last week blamed Athens of deliberately stalling of the talks.

Both countries on Tuesday reaffirmed their intent to stay proactive in the search for a solution and blamed the other side for the delays.

Greek -Macedonian relations hit a fresh low in April when Athens blocked Skopje’s invitation to join NATO arguing that Skopje’s name could lead it to make territorial claims on Greece’s own northern province which is also called Macedonia.

Macedonia's name has been recognised by around 120 countries worldwide.

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