New name talks amid FYROM discord

As the UN mediator in the Macedonia name dispute heralded a fresh round of talks in New York next week with representatives from Athens and Skopje, political leaders in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) sent conflicting messages about the prospects for a solution. United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz called on Greece’s Adamantios Vassilakis and FYROM’s Nikola Dimitrov to meet him in New York on Tuesday in a bid to push ahead with efforts to break the deadlock in a 17-year dispute over FYROM’s official name. It is thought that Nimetz might propose a new alternative name for consideration by both sides. Greek diplomats are said to be unsettled by reports that Nimetz aims to propose that the nationality of FYROM citizens be written as «Makedonski» on official documents. But diplomatic sources in Athens expressed reservations about the prospects for progress due to an escalating dispute between FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and the country’s president, Branko Crvenkovski. Gruevski yesterday reiterated his support for a «dual solution» where one name is used bilaterally between Greece and FYROM and another – the Republic of Macedonia – is used internationally. Athens is opposed to such a solution. But, in stark contrast with Gruevksi, FYROM’s President Crvenkovski yesterday said that Skopje was ready to accept a »fair compromise» with Greece in the name row. Speaking after talks with European Union Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn in Brussels, Crvenkovski said any solution «should not go against our cultural and national identity.» He admitted that he and Gruevski did not agree on how to resolve the spat.