UN seeks FYROM break

Athens and Skopje must clarify their priorities and defuse bilateral tensions before a compromise can be reached on their dispute over the official name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), UN mediator Matthew Nimetz said in an interview with Kathimerini published yesterday. Nimetz, who met with Greek and FYROM envoys in New York last week, praised Greece’s positive stance and appeared to dismiss negative comments made by FYROM’s prime minister, Nikola Gruevski, on Friday. Questioned about Gruevski’s refusal to consider an alternative to FYROM’s constitutional name, Nimetz said he would not respond to «reactions» until he had received «the official stances» of both countries to his latest suggestions. Asked about Greece’s decision to consider a composite name for FYROM, which would clearly differentiate the Balkan state from the region in northern Greece, Nimetz said, «Greece wants to solve the problem – it is making a sincere effort in this direction.» Nimetz said his chief aim was to determine the priorities of both governments to help him draw up a viable framework for «an honorable and fair solution» to the 16-year spat. «I asked both sides to examine all eventualities so that a solution can be found within a reasonable time frame,» the envoy said. Nimetz did not give a deadline for a settlement but developments are expected ahead of a NATO summit in April, when the alliance is due to consider FYROM’s prospects for accession. Nimetz said he plans to visit both Athens and Skopje «in the near future» for talks with government officials. In a related development, FYROM sources in New York told Kathimerini that Skopje is considering broaching the issue of the «Macedonian minority» in Greece.

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