Name talks to pick up, FM says

Foreign Minister Dora Bako-yannis said yesterday that talks to resolve the Macedonia name dispute would «intensify» ahead of NATO’s April 2-4 summit. «We will likely see an intensification of efforts over the next 15 days,» Bakoyannis said after briefing the Inner Cabinet. Sources said diplomats from Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will continue United Nations-mediated talks next Monday in New York. According to media reports in Skopje, the composite names being promoted by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz favor Greece. Foreign Ministry sources in Athens did not comment on this but said pressure had been shifted onto FYROM. Official comments from Skopje yesterday were varied. FYROM’s President Branko Crvenkovski appeared to show good will. «I honestly hope this problem will be overcome (before the summit),» he said. But Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski was less upbeat. He said FYROM was «under pressure» by Greece and it faced «constant blackmail,» adding that it has «a red line it will not cross.»

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