Fresh Macedonia ‘Name’ Talks Start in New York

The UN envoy in the Macedonia-Greece ‘name’ dispute, Matthew Nimetz, is sounding confident of a compromise ahead of fresh talks, which follow his recent visit to the region.UN mediator Nimetz will meet Macedonia’s negotiator, Zoran Jolevski and Greece’s Adamantios Vassilakis separately and then at a joint discussion on Tuesday and Wednesday, the UN said.

The talks are to follow up on discussions that he held from January 9-11 in Athens and Skopje.

“I do think we will reach a positive conclusion,” Nimetz said then, after speaking with the Macedonian Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski.

He did not disclose any of the ideas he had discussed, however.

The fresh talks are part of a new effort to reach a compromise following a recent statement by the EU Council, which said that any decision on opening accession talks for Macedonia would be based on a report by the European Commission, due to be published this spring.

The report will assess whether Macedonia has made genuine steps towards reaching a deal with Greece over its name.

Greece insists that Macedonia’s name implies territorial claims to its own northern province, also called Macedonia.

Macedonia has obtained annual recommendations for a start to EU membership talks in European Commission reports since 2009.

But it has never been offered a date for the talks because of the Greek blockade related to the dispute over its name.

Meanwhile, the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fule, has proposed a trilateral meeting with the Foreign Ministers of both countries, Nikola Poposki and Dimitris Avramopoulos, which would give the European Commission more insight into the name issue.

While Macedonia accepted the idea, Greece sounded reluctant, saying that in principle it had nothing against such a meeting, but not at this moment, before the scheduled talks in New York.

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