Athens waits for Skopje to go first

Greece intends to play a waiting game on the Macedonia name issue, letting the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) first state its position before Athens reveals whether it is happy with the latest proposal made by United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz. Sources said yesterday that Greek diplomats will wait for the government in Skopje to assess the latest proposal, according to which FYROM would probably be known as the Republic of Northern Macedonia, and announce its position before they indicate their own views. FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is set to convene a meeting of political leaders to discuss Nimetz’s plan but initial reactions from Greece’s neighbor suggest that there is concern about the omission of the matters of ethnicity and language from the deal. There is also concern that the country’s citizens will be known as «Residents of the Republic of Northern Macedonia» rather than Macedonians. Privately, Greek diplomats have welcomed the proposals but Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was certainly not letting her true feelings be known yesterday as she informed President Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and PASOK leader George Papandreou of the latest developments. «We are involved in negotiations with specific aims and positions,» she said. «The negotiations will continue until that there is a solution that satisfies both countries, so that there are no winners or losers.» After talks with Bakoyannis, Papandreou suggested that he would not support the deal now on the table as it would not ensure the use of a single name for Greece’s northern neighbor.

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