NEWS

US is keen for more name talks

The United States stepped up yesterday its active role in promoting a new round of talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) that may lead to United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz making another name proposal soon. Sources said that US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried called Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis yesterday to confirm whether Athens, as it has stated publicly, is ready to return to the negotiating table. Fried also spoke to the Skopje leadership and to Nimetz, according to sources. Athens, however, was upset by Fried’s references to a «Macedonian language» and a «Macedonian nation» while speaking in Washington yesterday. Greece’s negotiator Adamantios Vassilakis was called to the Foreign Ministry and told to be ready for a new proposal from Nimetz in the near future. Athens rejected Nimetz’s previous proposal of «Republic of Macedonia (Skopje).» The Greek government has indicated that it would be willing to accept «Nova Makedonija» (New Macedonia) as a suitable solution. «What is certain is that we want the process to continue, under the auspices of the UN, so that a mutually acceptable solution can be reached,» said government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, who confirmed that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has accepted an invitation to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Karamanlis briefed President Karolos Papoulias yesterday about his government’s decision to veto FYROM’s bid to join NATO at a summit in Bucharest last week. «Bucharest has given us a new lease of hope,» said Papoulias. «The final outcome will be a success.» Meanwhile in Skopje, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski met with the leaders of the main political parties to discuss the name issue. Gruevski said he would ask the parties to publicly say whether they accept some of the suggestions put forward by Nimetz so far. However, the stability of the government is in question as the minority Albanian party which forms part of the ruling coalition is set today to ask for elections.