News 10 Jan 13

Nimetz Arrives in Skopje for ‘Name’ Talks

The UN mediator in the Greek-Macedonian ‘name’ dispute, Matthew Nimetz, has arrived in Skopje after previously visiting Athens.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic

UN mediator, Matthew Nimetz

Nimetz is set to meet Macedonian officials and present fresh ideas for overcoming the long-standing impasse.

On Wednesday, Nimetz met Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos in Athens.

After the meetings, he said he gained the impression that the Greek government was sincere in its desire for a solution.

“I’ve presented some of my considerations here [in Athens]. I'll do the same in Skopje to see if we can bring our positions closer," Nimetz said.

The Greek Foreign Ministry described the talks as constructive.

No details have been released about the content of Nimetz’s ideas.

The fresh push follows the recent conclusion of the EU Council, which said that any decision on opening accession talks for Macedonia would be based on the report of the European Commission to be published in spring 2013.

The report will assess whether Macedonia has made genuine steps forward towards reaching a deal with Greece on 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 owing to the Greek blockade, related to the dispute over its name.

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