Head of Macedonia’s main ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, says a solution to the “name” dispute between Macedonia and Greece may be nearer in 2013, when both countries have elections out of the way.In an interview for Kanal 5 TV, Ali Ahmeti said that after the general elections in Greece and local polls in Macedonia, due in early 2013, some “key preconditions” for reaching a solution might be met, meaning that the political situation in both countries would be clearer.
In addition, the head of DUI, the biggest ethnic Albanian Party in Macedonia, said that by that time the United States, which is seen as a key factor in the process, would have finished with its presidential elections and would have more time to focus on the issue.Ahmeti’s remarks come at a time when UN-led talks between Macedonia and Greece have been stalled for over a year. Observers blame the logjam partially on the political and economic turmoil in Greece.
At a recent celebration marking its 10th anniversary, the DUI dispelled reports that it might leave the coalition government led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski over the unresolved name dispute.
Gruevski, leader of the centre-right VMRO DPMNE party, is seen as a hard liner on the name issue, and the main opposition Social Democrats have accused him of delaying a solution to the problem.
Relations between Macedonia and Greece have been strained for two decades by the row over Macedonia’s name.
Citing the unresolved issue, Greece has blocked Macedonia’s progress towards both EU and NATO membership.
Greece insists that use of the term “Macedonia” implies a territorial claim to its own northern province of the same name.