Macedonia to Convey ‘Name’ Plan Remarks

Skopje – Macedonia’s negotiators in the UN-sponsored talks over the “name row” with Greece, are leaving for New York to convey Skopje’s view on the latest settlement plan.

Nikola Dimitrov and Martin Protugjer, are expected to inform the United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz on Macedonia’s stances relating his latest proposal that he put forward earlier this month.

“Macedonia remains committed to settling the name row,” Macedonia’s President Branko Crvenkovski told media on Monday.

He said this after meeting the United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Stuart E. Jones who is on a two-day visit to the country. Jones on his part expressed hope that the solution will indeed come “soon”.

According to media in Skopje and Athens, Nimetz proposed a wider use of the name Republic of Northern Macedonia for Skopje and several possible solutions on how to describe Macedonia’s language and identity.

Local experts argue that Macedonia might have a problem in accepting Nimetz’s solution for the issue of the identity since Skopje insists it must remain unchanged.

So far Athens has remained silent over the plan.

Meanwhile Daniel Fried, the US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs on late Monday in Washington urged Skopje leaders to hurry and use the remaining five weeks until the NATO Ministerial meeting to resolve the row, local Alsat TV informed.

Fried noted in front of Macedonian journalists in Washington that the country should do “everything in its power” to solve the issue that would unblock Macedonia’s bid to join the alliance.

“There must be a solution”, Fried said arguing that the new United States president would probably not take the Macedonia name dispute as seriously as the outgoing president George W. Bush does.

In April, Athens blocked Skopje’s NATO accession arguing that the country must change its name first. Greece argues that the name Macedonia implies its territorial claims over Greece’s own northern province of the same name.

NATO says the invitation for Macedonia will be forwarded the moment the row is resolved.

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