Greek Naming Dispute Reply “Not Positive”

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UN mediator Matthew Nimetz’s has expressed pessimism regarding the Greek response to his recently proferred proposals for solving the Athens-Skopje naming dispute.

So far there is no official information on the content of the Greek response. A brief UN press release on the meeting between Nimetz and Greek representative Adamantios Vassilakis only notes that the parlay occured.

However, Nimetz was quoted by local A1 TV as saying after the meeting that, “Efforts to solve the name issue continue, even though Greece’s answer is not positive.”

Greek media, citing diplomatic sources, report that Vassilakis underlined several statements referring to the use of a possible compromise name, which is expected to be a variation of the appelation Northern Macedonia.

Greece’s Mega TV station reports that Vassilakis told Nimetz that Athens would not accept his proposed formulation, Republic of Northern Macedonia, if this was only intended for use in bilateral Greek-Macedonian relations. He insisted that any name that is decided, which appears to refer to a geographical area, must be used internationally.

On Thursday, Nimetz is set to meet Macedonia’s negotiator, Zoran Jolevski, in New York and will hear Skopje’s response and proposals.

In July, Nimetz visited both countries, handing them a new set of possible compromise appelations which, he said, were altered to fit both Athens’ and Skopje’s demands. He sounded optimistic at the time that a deal to end the long-standing row was within reach.

Last year, Athens blocked Skopje’s NATO accession over the dispute. Greece threatens to also hamper Macedonia’s EU accession, arguing that the country’s current formal name, Republic of Macedonia, implies Skopje maintains territorial claims on its own northern province of Macedonia.

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