US eyes solution in name dispute

Washington has informed Prime Minister George Papandreou that it will back an effort by Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to settle their name dispute by agreeing on «Northern Macedonia» as the new name for the Balkan country. According to sources, Papandreou, who is wrapping up a visit to the USA, was told by White House officials that if Athens and Skopje can agree to Northern Macedonia as a resolution to their disagreement, then Washington would immediately adopt this name in dealings with Greece’s neighbor. United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz visited Skopje and Athens at the end of last month but did not make any official proposal, although it is thought that he favors «Northern Macedonia» as a solution. During his talks this week with President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Papandreou also touched on the issues of Greece’s relations with Turkey and the progress of reunification talks on Cyprus. Washington officials praised Papandreou’s for having taken the initiative to meet with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his first trip abroad. Meanwhile, it was revealed yesterday that Obama’s approval for Greece to be included in the US’s visa waiver program will be effective as of next month. Officials said that it would take about 30 days before Greeks who have a new passport fitted with a microchip can travel to the US without a visa and stay there for up to 90 days. «This is an exciting day for both the United States and Greece,» sad US Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard. «A lot of hard work and cooperation by a lot of people in the US and Greek governments have made visa waiver a reality for Greek citizens.»

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