US push on FYROM solution bid

Scheduled talks in New York tomorrow between United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz and diplomats from Athens and Skopje constitute a «window of opportunity» for solving the Macedonia name dispute that should be exploited by both sides, US sources told Kathimerini said yesterday. The same sources said negotiations about a new name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) should continue at a higher level, at least that of the two countries’ foreign ministers. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said he would visit Athens on Monday to discuss the dispute. It is thought that he will try to dissuade Athens from vetoing FYROM’s bid to join NATO in the event that a mutually acceptable solution to the name row is not found. Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos reiterated yesterday that a name solution is the basis for FYROM’s membership, stressing that Greece would not relinquish its right to veto if necessary. Koumoutsakos said the name issue was «a vehicle for potentially expansionist activities in the region.» FYROM’s President Branko Crvenkovski, in Brussels yesterday, said the name issue «cannot be classified as a security issue» and «is not connected to our European Union and NATO prospects but is a bilateral matter.» Crvenkovski met with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and the NATO chief. Solana said: «I don’t like vetoes… this is a moment in which solutions can be found.»