No progress in row over name of former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – UN envoy

No progress in row over name of former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – UN envoy

The positions of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the official name of the latter country remain wide apart, despite intense efforts to broker a solution in recent months and the acknowledgement of both sides that a settlement would be in their best interests, the United Nations envoy on the issue told reporters today.

Matthew Nimetz, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, held another round of talks in New York today on the “name issue” with representatives of the two countries.

Although the representatives from Athens and Skopje had reviewed all the alternatives, including the compromise proposals put forward by the envoy, Mr. Nimetz said their positions were still different on what would be a satisfactory name for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The Interim Accord of 13 September 1995, which was brokered by the UN, details the difference between the two countries on the issue. It also obliges the two sides to continue negotiations under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General to try to reach agreement.

But Mr. Nimetz said that despite an intense series of talks in recent months in various cities, the question of the name remained a “very difficult issue” that was also of great importance to the wider region.

He said it was up to the representatives of Athens and Skopje to now return to their respective capitals to consider the latest proposals, adding he was prepared to resume negotiations whenever the two sides were willing.

But he stressed that “a solution that works has to be a compromise” and that the proposals he had made had been fair, honourable and geographically sensitive.