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After his visit to the region, the UN mediator in the Macedonia ‘name’ talks, Matthew Nimetz, has invited negotiators to a follow-up meeting in New York.
|UN building in New York | Photo by: Steve Cadman|
Macedonia's representative, Zoran Jolevski and Greece’s Adamantios Vassilakis have agreed to meet the UN mediator on January 29 and 30 at UN headquarters, the UN said.
Nimetz will meet negotiators separately and at a joint discussion to follow up on the discussions that he held last week from January 9-11 in Athens and Skopje.
“I do think we will reach a positive conclusion," Nimetz said at the end of his tour last week, after speaking with the Macedonian Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski.
After the talks, which focused on specific ideas for a compromise name for Macedonia, Nimetz said both countries seemed interested in making progress.
He did not disclose any of the ideas he had discussed, however.
Nimetz’s fresh push for a solution follows a recent statement by the EU Council, which said that any decision on opening accession talks for Macedonia would be based on a report by the European Commission due to be published in spring 2013.
The report will assess whether Macedonia has made genuine steps forward towards reaching a deal with Greece over its name.
Greece insists that Macedonia’s name implies territorial claims to its own northern province, also called Macedonia.
Macedonia has obtained annual recommendations for a start to EU membership talks in European Commission reports since 2009.
But it has never been offered a date for the talks because of the Greek blockade related to the dispute over its name.
Ever since Macedonia gained independence in 1991, its name has been the subject of a bitter dispute with southern neighbor, Greece.
The longstanding mediator between Athens and Skopje, Matthew Nimetz, rarely reveals his feelings – but admits regret that the name ‘New Macedonia’ didn’t stick.
It was bound to happen. And it did. I can't really say finally, but here I am, perplexed and unsurprised.
Three upcoming reports will help determine the EU prospects of Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia; of the three, the latter is causing by far the most concern.