The Greek and Macedonian governments have denied newspaper claims that a fresh proposal has been made by UN mediator Matthew Nimitz for a solution to the long-standing Athens-Skopje “name” row.
The Greek weekly, To Paron, reported on Monday that Nimetz put forward the proposal in July, but it was being kept secret.
Political sources told the newspaper that Athens had accepted Nimetz’s suggestion of “Vardarska Makedonia” as a solution to the dispute and the UN was awaiting Skopje’s reply.
But the Macedonian and Greek governments have rejected the claims.
Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigori Dalavecouras told reporters: “I can tell you for certain that Nimetz did not extend any proposal.”
The Macedonian Foreign Ministry also denied the report, pointing to an interview given last week by Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki to the Macedonian edition of Radio Free Europe.
Milososki had said it was obvious that “Athens has been promoting possible initiatives that favoured its own viewpoint” following Greek media reports that adjectives like “Northern” or “Vardar” (the name of Macedonia’s biggest river) could be acceptable solutions.
Athens and Skopje have been locked in the dispute over the use of the name Macedonia for almost two decades.
Athens insists that Skopje’s official name, the Republic of Macedonia, implies territorial claims against its own northern province, also called Macedonia.
In 2008, Greece blocked Macedonia’s NATO accession pending a solution to the dispute.
Last December, Athens also blocked Skopje from getting a start date for its EU accession talks, despite a positive recommendation from the European Commission.
Nimetz held the last round of name talks in late April but with no visible progress.
More negotiations on the issue are expected later this month at the UN General Assembly in New York where delegations from both countries are to meet Nimetz and possibly hold joint meetings.