Thursday, February 11, 2010

U.N. envoy to visit Macedonia over name dispute with Greece

A U.N. special envoy on the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece will pay a visit to Skopje on Feb. 23 for a fresh round of talks.

The Macedonian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that U.N. envoy Matthew Nimetz has accepted this date proposed by the Macedonian government in a bid to step up efforts to solve the problem.

The two neighboring countries are locked in a 19-year-long row over the use of the name Macedonia. Athens insists that the name of the Republic of Macedonia implies territorial claims of its own northern province of the same name.

In December last year the EU postponed a decision on opening accession talks with Macedonia, citing the unresolved row as the reason.

In 2008, Athens, which is also a member of NATO, prevented Skopje from entering the organization over the same dispute.

Nimetz is expected to launch a fresh round of talks between the two countries. His latest visits last autumn did not produce anything substantial results.

Although there are no official details on the talks, local media in both countries said some variants of the compound name of the Republic of Northern Macedonia might be acceptable to both sides.

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