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Nimetz Pushes New FYROM Name Plan

UN Special Envoy Matthew Nimetz
UN Envoy Matthew Nimetz

United Nations special envoy Matthew Nimetz said a new name is on the table for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to be discussed although initial reports said that Greece isn’t happy about it.
Nimetz met with negotiators from Athens and Skopje in New York on April 9 and the newspaper Kathimerini and website ENet reported that UN sources said the new proposal is based on a combination of names and includes a geographical qualifier, in accordance with Greek demands. However, the geographical qualifier appeared to precede the term Democracy, as opposed to that of Macedonia.
The full new proposed name was not revealed but Nimetz invited officials from both countries to study the new proposal carefully and respond to it after the upcoming Greek Orthodox Easter holiday on May 5.
“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,” Nimetz told journalists, almost identical to what he has said for 14 years without any resolution to the name crisis that has gone on for more than two decades.
Without giving any details, 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.
“It is a very important regional issue. It is a very important European issue, it has ramifications, and there is a lot of interest,” Nimetz said. The UN in 1995 brokered an interim deal outlining the objections each country has. Greece objects to what it believes are territorial ambitions by FYROM, which abuts the northern Greek province of Macedonia, a name the Greek government gave away when it allowed its neighbor to call itself by a name which included the word Macedonia.
Since then Greece has tried to regain the name and objected to a series of name proposals that all include the word Macedonia, which it claims is only Greek. Ironically, it was Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who, when he was Foreign Minister years ago, who objected to allowing that name, which helped bring down the government of New Democracy Conservative leader and then-Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis.

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