NEWS

Nimetz here for last-ditch talks

The United Nations special mediator on the Macedonia name dispute is in Athens today to attend last-ditch talks between diplomats representing Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is also to attend the negotiations which will be based on a new proposal by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz for a solution to the 15-year dispute concerning the official name of FYROM. Nimetz is expected to propose a dual solution: a composite name for use in FYROM’s dealings with Athens and its presence in international organizations and the «constitutional name» of Republic of Macedonia for FYROM to use in its bilateral relations with other countries. Once the proposal has been laid on the table, Bakoyannis and Nimetz will mediate negotiations between Greece’s representative, Adamantios Vassilakis, and FYROM’s visiting spokesperson Nikola Dimitrov. The Foreign Ministry in Athens made no official statements yesterday regarding its stance or expectations. But a diplomatic source was somewhat downbeat: «Let us see what Nimetz comes up with, although the likelihood is that his proposal will not satisfy us.» Athens is expected to adhere to its conviction that one composite name should be used in all dealings, the source added. However other sources remarked that – rather than avoid marginalization by deciding to veto FYROM’s bid to join NATO – Athens might be open to discuss the use of a dual name, as long as it is the composite name that appears on FYROM passports.