Greece, Macedonia in new UN bid to solve name dispute
UNITED NATIONS - Agence France-Presse
U.N. envoy Matthew Nimetz decided to sit down with diplomats from the two countries at U.N. headquarters after their governments showed a new willingness to end the row.
“I think the people in both countries are maybe ready to hear some solutions that are consistent with national interests but also have some element of compromise that would resolve the problem,” the U.N. envoy said in an interview to Greek state broadcaster ERT on Jan. 15.
It has also been admitted to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund under that name.Some of the solutions floated include using the name New Macedonia or Northern Macedonia, but Greek nationalists argue that there should be no reference to Macedonia at all.
Asked about prospects for the talks, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric sounded a cautious note.
“These are discussions that have been going on for quite a long time. They’re very delicate discussions,” he said.
“Let’s wait to see what happens.”
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said this month that he believed a solution could be found by July, while his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras has said the issue should be settled this year.
Tsipras this week pushed back against the influential Greek Orthodox Church after it said any compromise with Skopje should not include the use of “Macedonia.”A compromise on the name is expected to be put to a referendum or presented to the parliaments for endorsement, which could stoke nationalist fervor.