Representatives of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia held talks today on the name of the latter country in what a United Nations envoy called a “good, solid discussion.”
Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece and Ambassador Zoran Jolevski of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia met at the initiative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Personal Envoy Matthew Nimetz.
Today’s encounter was considered an exploratory meeting as it was the first with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s new negotiator. The parties spoke about major issues and how progress could be made. Mr. Nimetz stressed the need to create a positive atmosphere and to avoid creating irritations between the parties. The two sides decided to meet again on a date yet to be agreed. No new proposals were aired during today’s meeting.
The meeting was the first since the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia instituted proceedings against Greece in November at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, alleging that Greece blocked its application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in violation of an agreement between the two countries.
When their representatives last met in New York in October, Mr. Nimetz presented a new set of ideas to both sides for their consideration. In the past, the Special Envoy has proposed several compromise names but the two sides 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.