Macedonia Expects Resumption of “Name” Talks

A new round of Athens Skopje “name” talks is expected to begin by the end of March, Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki said during an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The UN envoy Matthew Nimetz is expected to once again summon the two countries’ negotiators during March,” Milososki said on Monday, according to a Macedonian government press release.

Milososki reiterated that his country remains constructive and open minded in the ongoing talks that aim to solve this long lasting spat.

The name row between Skopje and Athens continues to delay Macedonia’s EU and NATO membership process. Athens argues that Skopje’s official name, Republic of Macedonia, implies territorial claims over its own northern province, also called Macedonia.

In December Greece prevented the EU from extending a date for the start of Macedonia’s accession talks because of the dispute. The same reason was cited when in 2008 Athens prevented Skopje from getting an invitation to enter NATO.

Mediator Nimetz visited the two capitals last month in an effort to revive the UN-sponsored negotiating process which has been effectively stalled for the past seven months.

The EU and USA have urged the two parties to reach a solution quickly, preferably in the first half of this year.

Media have speculated that some variant of the compound name Northern Macedonia may satisfy both sides, but so far there have been no official comments from either parties on this possibility.

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