Macedonia To Present “Name” Strategy

Macedonia will present a structured state strategy at the coming meeting with the UN “name” mediator, Matthew Nimetz, in Skopje on February 23, President George Ivanov said.

He noted that top state officials were in constant coordination with Nimetz and that Macedonian negotiator Zoran Jolevski had already forwarded him the latest Macedonian positions on the name issue.

“Nimetz has always come with knowledge acquired from both sides. He is well aware of Macedonian and Greek positions, and he will probably present the steps that the two countries need to undertake in order to reach a solution,” Ivanov said on Tuesday.

The UN envoy in the name dispute will pay a visit to Skopje on February 23 for talks with Macedonian authorities, the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced earlier this week.

Nimetz is expected to visit Athens as well.

Skopje and Athens are locked in an 18 year long row over the use of the name Macedonia. Athens insists that Skopje’s formal name, Republic of Macedonia, implies territorial claims against its own northern province with the same name.

Due to the unresolved spat, Athens in December prevented Skopje from getting the desired date for start of its European Union accession talks, thus effectively blocking its EU integration.

In 2008, Athens which is also a member of NATO, prevented Skopje from entering the alliance over the same dispute.

Nimetz is expected to launch a fresh round of talks between the two countries. His visits last autumn did not produce any substantial movement toward a solution. At the time, media speculated that some version of the name “Republic of Northern Macedonia” was discussed as a possible compromise.

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