NEWS

Italy adds to calls for FYROM name row to be solved

Pressure from within Europe for a solution to the dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter’s name is growing, with Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini adding her voice to those calling for a swift resolution.

“Italy is ready to support the United Nations’ mediation efforts,” Mogherini said following talks with FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki in Skopje. “The name issue is very important.”

Mogherini also suggested the European Union and US should stand by to help Athens and Skopje resolve the dispute in “the coming months.” Italy currently holds the EU presidency and Mogherini was in FYROM as part of a tour of the Western Balkans.

Her comments come in the wake of German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling earlier this month on Greece and FYROM to reach a solution as their row is a “burden” on Europe.

Greek diplomatic sources told Kathimerini that the growing interest in the issue from within the EU is a result of the brewing dispute between the bloc and Russia. Events in Ukraine appear to have convinced European decision-makers that the Western Balkans must fall under the EU’s sphere of influence.

UN mediator Matthew Nimetz is due to visit Skopje and Athens for talks next week in a bid to fire up stalled negotiations. Nimetz is expected in Skopje on Monday and Tuesday before talks in Athens on Wednesday and Thursday.

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