Solution in sight for name dispute

Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) appear to be close to a solution to their name dispute that would involve the neighboring country using the name of the longest river that runs through it as a geographical determinant, sources have told Sunday’s Kathimerini. It appears that the two countries are set to agree on the name of the Vardar River being used to differentiate the Republic of Macedonia from the region in northern Greece by the same name. Greece has insisted throughout the lengthy negotiations that Skopje accept the use of a geographical determinant. It is not clear at this stage if this would mean FYROM being called Republic of Vardar Macedonia or Republic of Macedonia (Vardar). Risto Nikovski, an adviser to FYROM President Gjorge Ivanov, suggested last year that Republic of Macedonia (Vardar) would be a suitable compromise and would not involve Skopje having to rewrite the country’s constitution. Western diplomatic sources told Sunday’s Kathimerini that there has been a discernible progress in negotiations since Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou decided to hold face-to-face discussions with his FYROM counterpart Nikola Gruevski, rather than let the talks continue at a lower diplomatic level. The United Nations’ special mediator Matthew Nimetz has not had one-on-one talks with either side since February but his office insists that he is still committed to finding a solution. «Ambassador Nimetz is in very frequent contact with both parties but he will not be responding to specific questions on substantive discussions,» UN Deputy Spokesman Ari Gaitanis said in a written statement last week. It is not known when the next talks between Nimetz, Athens and Skopje might take place.