NEWS

Name proposal lacks support

More than half of Greeks are against the proposal by United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz for Greece’s northern neighbor, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), to be called the Republic of Northern Macedonia. According to a poll carried out on behalf of Kathimerini and Skai, 53 percent of Greeks would reject the opportunity to settle the long-running dispute between the two countries by adopting Nimetz’s proposal. However, 43 percent of those questioned by Public Issue said that Greece could accept the deal on the table. The overwhelming majority of respondents (77 percent) feel a single name that FYROM would use for all purposes has to be agreed upon. Nimetz’s proposal would allow FYROM to keep its constitutional name of «Republic of Macedonia» but would require «Northern Macedonia» to be used on official documents and in international organizations. However, opinion is split on whether the New Democracy government is handling negotiations with Skopje well. Half of those questioned think that Greece has probably handled talks well, whereas 42 percent think the Foreign Ministry has probably made the wrong moves. The likelihood of Nimetz’s latest proposal being accepted seems to be diminishing by the day, as FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski added on Saturday his voice to that of President Branko Crvenkovski in rejecting the mediator’s idea. Gruevski said that he agreed with the view that the proposal «is not a suitable basis for reaching a permanent solution.» Speaking to Sunday’s Kathimerini, US State Department official Daniel Fried urged both sides to accept the deal. «I hope both governments will have the courage and wisdom to accept it, even though I know it will not be easy,» he said.