Nimetz gets ball rolling

The United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz gave Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) some «suggestions» to consider yesterday as he prepares to visit both countries this month in a bid to resolve the dispute over the latter’s name. Nimetz held a meeting with Greece’s UN ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis and FYROM’s representative Nikola Dimitrov in New York in what is seen as perhaps the most crucial round of talks between the two countries. The mediator did not table any specific proposals but «made some suggestions in the form of a draft framework for their consideration as a basis for an honorable and fair solution,» according to a statement he released after the two-and-a-half hour talks. Nimetz asked for his suggestions to be relayed to Athens and Skopje as he prepares to travel to Europe by the end of the month for further talks. Vassilakis said that yesterday’s meeting was conducted in a «good climate» and that there had been a «sincere» exchange of views. Dimitrov said that his country was «very flexible» on what Greece could call it but is insisting on being known as the «Republic of Macedonia» internationally. He also denied claims that FYROM is opposed to Greece’s northern region being called Macedonia. Speaking in Skopje, FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski said that his country’s «legal and historical right to use its real name» was being challenged. Meanwhile, Greek diplomats have already begun distributing documents to members of the UN Security Council, NATO and the European Union that detail Athens’s position on the name issue. Greece has suggested that it would accept a composite name for its northern neighbor, which would clearly differentiate it from the Greek region. In the documents being circulated at the UN, Athens suggests a couple of such examples, including Nova Macedonia or Upper Macedonia. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will back up this diplomatic drive with visits to several major European capitals, starting with Berlin and London.