NEWS

Nimetz wants return to diplomacy

The United Nations mediator in the Macedonia name dispute, Matthew Nimetz, yesterday called on Skopje to focus on the matter at hand following repeated references by the prime minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Nikola Gruevski to a supposed «Macedonian minority.» «All these years, both sides have raised various issues but negotiations are focusing on the name issue, as dictated by the decisions of the UN and the interim agreement,» Nimetz told state television channel NET in an interview. Nimetz, who has been mediating in talks with representatives from Greece and FYROM on the name issue for several years, told NET that negotiations would resume next month. The UN official withdrew from the spotlight after Athens vetoed Skopje’s bid to join NATO at an alliance summit in Bucharest in April. Since then he has resumed his mediating role but avoided making public statements as Gruevski has adopted an increasingly intransigent stance opposite Athens, culminating with letters to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso regarding a so-called «Macedonian minority» in Greece. Nimetz said that «a lot of work» was still necessary to reach the elusive goal of a mutually acceptable solution but appeared upbeat about breaking the deadlock, without committing himself to a deadline. Meanwhile in Brussels, where EC officials were preparing a written response to Gruevski’s letter to Barroso, sources indicated that the note would exhort the FYROM premier to be more cooperative with his Greek counterparts.