NEWS

Nimetz back to FYROM for new talks

United Nations special mediator Matthew Nimetz is due in Skopje today to meet the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in another bid to help bridge the gap between the neighboring country and Greece over the Macedonia name dispute. After talks in New York hit a dead end last weekend, Nimetz is set to make another effort to revive negotiations between the two sides. Nimetz has already made a range of proposals toward settling the dispute, include suggestions about possible names for FYROM, but Skopje has rejected his ideas. The Greek Foreign Ministry is not expecting Nimetz to make any new proposals and believes the fact that the UN mediator is making the trip to FYROM and has asked to see all senior members of the government is an indication that the pressure is now on Skopje to make some kind of compromise. Nimetz is due to meet with FYROM President Branko Crvenkovski, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki and Ambassador Nikola Dimitrov who has represented Skopje in the UN-sponsored negotiations so far. Nimetz is expected to fly to Thessaloniki after his talks in Skopje and meet with Greece’s negotiator Adamantios Vassilakis. However, ahead of Nimetz’s visit, FYROM’s government appeared to add fuel to the fire by attacking Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’s warning that Greece will veto its neighbor’s bid to join NATO unless a solution is found. «It is not good that the Greek prime minister pressures us constantly with the veto,» said Gruevski, adding, «It would be good to know whether the stability of his parliamentary majority is more important than stability in the region.» Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis insisted there would be no «invitation» to join NATO for FYROM unless a mutually acceptable name is agreed on. Meanwhile, the European Commission is also set today to publish a draft paper on FYROM’s progress toward membership of the EU. The Balkan country is expected to be told that it still has a number of reforms to carry out before it can be considered.