The United Nations envoy tasked with mediating talks between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the dispute over the latter’s name held talks today in New York with representatives from both sides.
Matthew Nimetz told reporters after the closed-door session at UN Headquarters that he found “gratifying” the fact that almost two hours was spent discussing the substance of the issues.
“The positions of the countries have crystallized,” he said, adding that there were reactions to some of his ideas. It was decided that the parties would meet again soon but a date has not yet been set.
Since 1999, Mr. Nimetz has been holding talks with the two sides and proposed compromise names in his capacity as the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for the talks.
His efforts are in line with a UN-brokered interim accord reached in 1995 which details the differences between the two over the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and obliges both Athens and Skopje to continue negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General to try to reach an agreement.
“This is a sensitive issue in a sensitive part of the world and a resolution of this issue would open the doors not only to better relations between these two countries but to greater stability in the region,” said the envoy.
Today’s talks were a follow-up to Mr. Nimetz’s visit to Athens and Skopje a few weeks ago.
“I feel generally that the process is a constructive one. I’m not at all disappointed,” he stated. “I think that both sides are being thoughtful about the process.”