SkopjeÂ – The United States will continue to support the UN’s efforts to reach a settlement between Macedonia and Greece on the `name’ row, the US State Department reiterated on Thursday.
â€œI know that (UN) representative (Matthew) Nimetz is working to try to bridge the differences. And that process will continue, and we need to support it, and we will support it,â€ the US State Department Deputy Spokesman Robert Wood told media in Washington.
Wood was responding to a question asking him to comment on the latest remarks by Greek officials on the most recent UN sponsored set of ideas for a solution.
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyiannis has over previous days stated that the latest package of ideas â€œis not satisfactory on a series of points, which are rejectedâ€ by Athens. But Bakoyiannis said that overall the package could be a basis for a solution.
On Wednesday Macedonian negotiators in New York handed Skopjeâ€™s remarks directly to Nimetz. Although not spelled out in public, local media have cited Macedonian diplomats saying that the objections referred mainly to the wide usage of the proposed name Republic of Northern Macedonia and the absence of firm guarantees that the identity of the Macedonians will remain Macedonian
â€œIf we get a United Nations stamp guarantying that our people are called Macedonians and our language is referred to as Macedonian, the key points of everyoneâ€™s national identity, then we should make a deal,â€ Macedoniaâ€™s president Branko Crvenkovski recently noted.
In April, Athens blocked Skopjeâ€™s bid to join NATO arguing that Macedonia must change its name first. Athens argues that Macedoniaâ€™s name implies its territorial claims over Greeceâ€™s own northern province of the same name.
The US have already urged both countries to work towards a quick solution.