US calls for FYROM talks

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) may not be invited to join NATO next year, US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said yesterday at the end of a visit to Greece during which he encouraged Athens and Skopje to hold direct talks over the name dispute. «It is too early for these issues as NATO has not invited FYROM to become a member,» Burns said when asked whether Greece’s dispute with the neighboring country over its use of the name «Macedonia» would impede FYROM’s membership bid. Burns said that the suitability of FYROM’s candidacy, as well as those of Croatia and Albania, would be considered at a NATO summit next April. «In the meantime, the USA believes that it would be good for the governments of [Greece and FYROM] to have direct contact,» said Burns. «We support the work of UN mediator Matthew Nimetz and I believe it would be best for things to cool down and for the Nimetz procedure to continue, to see if a modus vivendi can be found.» Burns said the US did not want to mediate in the dispute. The US diplomat also stressed that Washington was keen for the United Nations Security Council to grant Kosovo independence.

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