In what has been touted as a last chance to resolve the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) naming issue, UN special representative Matthew Nimetz will present his proposal for a settlement to the ambassadors of Greece and FYROM, Adamantios Vasilakis and Vasko Naumovski.
On the eve of the crucial talks, Nimetz underlined that the confluence of geostrategic circumstances favours a compromise solution and that his proposal will contain elements of previous proposals.
In other words, the 87-year-old American lawyer and diplomat, who has been involved as mediator since 1994, will reshuffle the deck and present a package proposal that both sides might currently accept.
“It’s a new proposal because it’s a new time and some of the ideas have been talked about for many years. There is no magic here. No one is going to discover something totally new…But I think that in the present circumstances, people will look at different solutions in a new way. This is what I’m trying to do,” Nimetz told Greek ANT1 television in an interview that aired last night.
Macedonia here to stay
With various politicians and groups in Greece objecting to Athens accepting the use of the name Macedonia by FYROM – including ruling coalition partner Panos Kammenos – Nimetz made clear that the word Macedonia will remain in the name of Greece’s northern neighbor.
“One has to be realistic. Right now, the name of the country in the United Nations is Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. So the name Macedonia is in the name now in the UN, and the country is recognised by Greece with that name. Over 100 countries recognise the state with the name Republika Makedonija, so it has Macedonia in the name for most countries. So the name Macedonia is connected with this country, and I think that we can find a solution that will meet Greek requirements, and also satisfy the people in the northern neighbor,” Nimetz said.
Solution helps Greece geopolitically
Nimetz stressed that the resolution of the lingering dispute can strengthen Greece’s regional role.
“I think that in Greece there’s a thinking that Greece should play a more important role in the region, and now that the economic-financial crisis is over, people are looking to Greece to play this role. One of the ways they can play the role is to solve this problem with their northern neighbor,” the UN mediator underlined.
Skopje shifting stance?
“Also in Skopje, there is a thinking that some of the ideas of the past were not necessarily favourable, that this is a time to solve this and get on with the European and North Atlantic [Nato] dimension of the country,” Nimetz said