Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: UN envoy offers new ideas on name

8 October 2008

A United Nations envoy tasked with mediating the long-running dispute between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over the latter’s official name today presented a new set of ideas to the two sides during talks in New York.

Matthew Nimetz, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for the talks between the two countries, said he hoped that Athens and Skopje would now study the ideas carefully.

“My ideas are based on a lot of thought and consideration of what might be a reasonable settlement, and… they do, in my view, represent an honourable, dignified and workable proposal for a settlement,” he told reporters after wrapping up the latest round of talks at UN Headquarters.

Mr. Nimetz said he had not given the two countries a deadline to respond to his proposals, but they had talked about getting back to him within a couple of weeks.

He stressed the importance of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia finally reaching a settlement on this issue after nearly 15 years of dispute.

“These are two nations that are living next to each other, neighbours, people who are neighbours, they have been neighbours for years, going to be neighbours for years to come. This is an issue that should be settled.”

Asked by journalists if his new ideas represented a final proposal, Mr. Nimetz noted that that it was not the role of mediators to do that.

“I don’t think a mediator is in a position to throw down an ultimatum and say ‘this is it.’ And I don’t do that. I don’t think it is appropriate to do that.”

Although Mr. Nimetz has proposed several compromise names in the past, Skopje and Athens remain far apart on what they consider to 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.


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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Agreement on name possible, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia tells UN

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is ready to accept “a fair compromise” in its long-running dispute with Greece over its official name, so long as it does not deny its national and cultural identity, President Branko Crvenkoski told the General Assembly today.