The next round of talks between Greece and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the dispute over the latter’s name is expected within two months, a United Nations envoy today said after a meeting with representatives of both sides to lay out a new proposal.
“I am very hopeful that both sides will find positive ingredients in this proposal and hopefully it can pave the way for serious discussions and hopefully a solution,” Matthew Nimetz, the Secretary-General's Personal Envoy, told journalists today in New York.
Without giving any details, Mr. Nimetz said that the new proposal is “concrete” and refined based on the issues, objections and problems both sides presented last time.
“Hopefully we get a little closer to some solution here,” he added, noting that he hopes both sides really study the new formulation and focus on a solution.
Mr. Nimetz is at the UN Headquarters to hold meetings with representatives from Athens and Skopje, but stressed that “intensive talks” and “frequent conversations” have continued with both sides in person and by telephone.
The most recent UN-brokered talks on the name dispute were in New York at the end of January 2013. In reference to a timeframe for the next round, Mr. Nimetz told journalists that “we should be talking within the next two months.”
He noted that many countries in Europe and the United States are interested in talks.
“It is a very important regional issue. It is a very important European issue, it has ramifications, and there is a lot of interest,” Mr. Nimetz said at the stakeout.
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.