FYROM name dialogue ‘useful’

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Antonio Milososki yesterday issued a joint statement from Brussels expressing their «commitment» to a solution to the Macedonia name dispute. After the talks, which were attended by US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried, Bakoyannis remarked that «various thoughts and ideas were discussed.» She said that she and Milososki would relay these ideas to their respective governments and that the two countries’ representatives would resume United Nations-mediated negotiations in New York next Tuesday. Bakoyannis did not reveal any details about yesterday’s talks but reiterated Greece’s insistence on a new name for FYROM that clearly distinguishes the country from the northern Greek region of the same name. «This is fair and important for stability in the region,» she said. Bakoyannis stressed that the US intervention did not undermine the role of UN mediator Matthew Nimetz but rather supported it. After the talks, a spokesperson for the US mission to NATO in Brussels said the exchange had taken place in «a good atmosphere.» Milososki, on his part, said that FYROM wants to stay «constructively involved» in resolving the name dispute. But he stressed that Skopje’s ultimate aim is to join NATO, a move that Athens has threatened to veto unless the name dispute is resolved. Sources said that Milososki expressed Skopje’s desire to see more alternative names on the table, as he believes the current suggestions can be improved on. A ministry spokesman in Athens, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, described yesterday’s talks as «a useful discussion and a sincere exchange of views.»

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