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News 24 Sep 13

New Macedonia 'Name' Talks Planned in New York

Matthew Nimetz, the UN mediator in the Greece-Macedonia 'name' dispute,  will summon both sides to a fresh round of talks in New York shortly.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

New York | Photo by: Steve Cadman

The spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, Martin Nesirsky, confirmed the new round of talks over Macedonia's name.

“Nimetz plans to convene the representatives of the two countries in New York in the coming weeks," he said.

"The Secretary General sincerely hopes that these talks will pave the way towards more serious negotiations in seeking a mutually acceptable name solution,” Nesirsky added.

Nimetz, the envoy of the UN Secretary General in the dispute, visited Athens and Skopje earlier this month and met top government officials.

After the meetings, he said he heard their positions about his latest compromise name proposal, put forward in April, warning that “substantial differences” remained between both sides.

Nimetz declined to divulge his suggested formula, but reports have indicated that it was “Upper Republic of Macedonia".

The announcement of a fresh round of talks comes also after the UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, met Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Sunday in New York.

The latest UN-sponsored talks will take place ahead of the December European Council meeting when EU enlargement and Macedonia's accession process will again be discussed.

Macedonia obtained EU candidate status back in December 2005, and European Commission reports have recommended a start to membership talks each year since 2009.

But the country has never been offered a date for EU accession talks, nor an invitation to join NATO, owing to a Greek blockade related to the dispute over its name.

Greece insists that Macedonia’s name implies territorial claims to its own northern province, also called Macedonia.

Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski this week kicks off his own visit to New York where, on September 27, he is expected to meet Ban Ki-moon and address the General Assembly.



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