Macedonia President: ‘Name’ Talks Blocked

Talks between Greece and Macedonia at the UN over the ‘name row’ are practically blocked with no signs of progress, Macedonia’s President Branko Crvenkovski claims.

“The stalemate in negotiations means that our integration into NATO and the European Union are also blocked,” Crvenkovski said in an interview with the local Alsat-M TV.

According to the President, recent moves by both countries’ governments suggest that the talks would either be put on hold, or continue on a formal level but without any substance.

“The outgoing United States administration has officially confirmed they are giving up assistance in the Macedonia-Greece negotiations, and it is very hard to bring such a process to a successful end without a powerful international factor that would push the process ahead,” Crvenkovski said.

In April, Athens practically blocked Skopje’s NATO invitation due to the unresolved row. Greece argued that neighbouring Macedonia should first change its name to prove it has no territorial claims over Greece’s own northern province with the same name.

Since then, the United Nations sponsored talks have intensified but with no result.

Last month Macedonia’s Government took Greece before the International Court of Justice after assessing that the talks are unlikely to provide a quick solution because of what Skopje sees as Greek stubbornness.

Skopje is suing Athens for breaching the 1995 Interim Accord that the two countries signed at the UN, which said Greece would not block Macedonia’s accession into international organisations if it joined using the provisional reference, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM.

Athens has threatened to block Skopje’s bid to join the EU as well, pending a solution to the dispute.

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