Fresh name talks later this month

The United Nations mediator entrusted with solving the Macedonia name dispute is to meet with diplomats from Athens and Skopje for a fresh round of talks before the end of this month, Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said yesterday. The exact date and venue for the meeting have not yet been determined, Koumoutsakos said. Meanwhile, Skopje was in political turmoil yesterday as a key ethnic Albanian party threatened to quit the coalition government unless Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski meets a series of demands, including recognizing Kosovo’s independence. Menduh Thaci, leader of the Democratic Party of Albanians (DPA), says the government has been mishandling national issues. The DPA’s departure triggered speculation about early elections. But there was no immediate government reaction to the move. As for the name dispute with Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) «will continue to respect the interim agreement,» Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki said, referring to a bilateral pact signed in 1995 after Greece removed an economic embargo on FYROM. In Washington, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried urged both countries to resolve the name spat so FYROM can be invited to join NATO – along with Croatia and Albania – at the alliance’s summit next month.

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