UN mediator presents new proposal on Macedonia name issue

A United Nations special mediator presented a new proposal to Greek and Macedonia negotiators in Athens Tuesday with the hopes of ending a dispute on Macedonia's official name.

UN mediator presents new proposal on Macedonia name issue
A United Nations special mediator presented a new proposal to Greek and Macedonia negotiators in Athens Tuesday with the hopes of ending a dispute on Macedonia's official name that has fuelled tension between the two neighbours for nearly two decades.

The UN-monitored talks have taken on a new momentum since Kosovo declared independence and Greece is threatening to veto Macedonia's bid to join NATO in April if a solution is not found.

Senior diplomats from Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) began a second round of negotiations on a new proposal by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz for a solution to the 15-year dispute in a second round of talks.

While details on the proposal were not revealed, diplomatic sources said Nimetz has proposed a dual solution to Athens and Skopje: a composite name for use in FYROM's dealings with Athens and its presence in international organisations and the constitutional name of Republic of Macedonia for FYROM to use in its bilateral relations with other countries.

Macedonia is called FYROM at the United Nations but the United States and more than 100 countries have recognised it as Macedonia.

Greece has objected to the name, arguing that it could imply claims on the northern Greek province of Macedonia and could destabilise the region. It has also warned that it may veto an invitation to Macedonia to join NATO if a solution is not found.

"The proposal tries to comprehensively propose a settlement of the name issue," Nimetz told journalists in Athens.

"It is a compromise proposal..it has elements that are difficult for both sides... and does not 100 per cent meet the interests of both parties...but I think that the proposal as a whole is a fair and dignified solution and meets the aspirations of both countries," said Nimetz.

"I have asked senior diplomats from both countries to take it back to their governments and for them to study it very carefully and for them to then come back to me," he added.

Nimetz said he did not believe that the proposal was a "take it or leave it" deal and expected "within a week or two" to hear back from both countries.

"We will then evaluate the issues raised by both countries and work to resolve them, he said.

On Tuesday, Bakoyianni said that Greece was willing to accept a composite name which would make a geographical distinction of the whole region.

"Greece has much to offer her neighbour," said Bakoyianni. "We want to have a good friend, a strong ally and future solid partner."

Nimetz said no date for the third round of negotiations had been set yet.

Agencies
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Şubat 2008, 14:06
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