UN’s Nimetz optimistic on name dispute, but still no progress

UN special mediator Matthew Nimetz on Wednesday wrapped up a tour to bordering Balkan neighbors Greece and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) which failed to produce any major breakthroughs in the ongoing name dispute between the two.

Speaking to journalists after a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos in Athens, Nimetz was nevertheless optimistic that the two sides can reach a settlement.

“Given the fact that there is a common desire to solve the issue and some ideas floating around that may be the basis for some solution, I do think that this is an issue that will get resolved,” Nimetz said. “Exactly when I cannot say,” he added.

Venizelos described the meeting with the UN envoy as “useful and interesting” and voiced the government’s determination to resolve the issue. Sources told Kathimerini that Greek negotiators reiterated that Athens will only accept a composite name with a geographical qualifier for use erga omnes – toward all. They insisted that a qualifier would have to be added before the word “Macedonia” and not before “Republic.”

Meanwhile, speaking from Skopje, FYROM’s conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski was quick to blame Athens for the lack of progress.

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