Skopje Reportedly Favours “Northern Republic of Macedonia”


Macedonia remains committed to the Athens-Skopje name talks, the country’s negotiator, Zoran Jolevski, said after his Thursday meeting with UN mediator Matthew Nimetz.

In their meeting, Jolevski presented Macedonia’s positions on a set of ideas to resolve the dispute tabled by Nimetz in July. Greece presented its responses earlier this week.

Macedonian media speculate that Jolevski expressed his country’s broad acceptance of Nimetz’s proposals, while cautioning that the appellation Northern Republic of Macedonia would better serve Macedonian national interests than Republic of Northern Macedonia. He also reportedly told Nimetz that the 125 countries that recognise Skopje’s official name, Republic of Macedonia, should not be forced to change their stance once an agreement with Greece is reached.

“Macedonia is committed to active participation in the talks over the name [issue] and we expect a mutually acceptable solution, which will ensure the preservation of the identity, dignity and integrity of Macedonian citizens, on the basis of Euro-Atlantic values and democratic principles,” Jolevski told reporters after the meeting.

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

Yesterday, Greek negotiator Adamantios Vassilakis denied Greek media reports that Athens had largely rejected Nimetz’s proposals.

“Such claims are not true,” Vassilakis told Greek news agency ANA-MPA, arguing that Greece has provided constructive suggestions, and hopes that the negotiations will finish quickly and successfully.

While characterising the Greek response as “not positive”, Nimetz said that the talks would continue.

The UN mediator is to brief both sides on plans for the next stage in the negotiations over the dispute.

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