FYROM pushes ‘minority’ issue

Kathimerini has learnt from sources and reports in Skopje that the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Nikola Gruevski has raised the issue of a «Macedonian minority» in Greece with United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz. Gruevski is believed to have demanded that people who left FYROM during the Greek civil war should have their nationality and property restored. Athens argues that there is no «Macedonian» ethnicity and that such demands reinforce its position that Skopje has irredentist claims against Greece. In Skopje on Friday, Rosemary DiCarlo, the US deputy assistant secretary for European affairs, urged a speedy solution to the name dispute. UN mediator Matthew Nimetz brought a new set of ideas to Athens and Skopje last week, based on variations of the epithets «Upper,» «New» and «North» that could be used with the name «Macedonia.» But diplomatic sources in Athens believe there will be no progress on the issue before September, noting that the government of Greece’s northern neighbor keeps taking a harder line.