Macedonia Hands ‘Name’ Reply to UN Envoy

Skopje – Macedonia’s negotiators in the UN-sponsored “name” talks with Greece, are to hand Skopje’s remarks regarding the latest proposal for settling the row to the chief mediator.

Nikola Dimitrov and Martin Protogjer will meet United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz to brief him on Macedonia’s objections to his latest set of ideas, local MIA news agency reported.

The negotiators will present to Nimetz the “line of Macedonian national interests,” Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki told local media on Tuesday stopping short of revealing details about the remarks.

According to media in both Athens and Skopje, the fresh proposal envisaged Skopje’s wider use of the name Republic of Northern Macedonia and several possible ways to address the issue of Macedonian language and national identity.

The national identity must remain Macedonian, experts in Skopje have publicly argued during last week.

The name row should be solved with a “reasonable compromise” between Skopje and Athens, Macedonia’s President Branko Crvenkovski stated on Tuesday at a local round table.

So far Greece has been officially silent over the proposed ideas.

However last week Athens Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis reiterated that Skopje could hope for NATO and European Union accession only after settling the dispute.

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

The US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried, 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.

He stated that Macedonia’s identity will not be jeopardised if Skopje accepts the latest UN proposal.

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