United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz is to visit Athens and Skopje at the beginning of July to try yet again to settle a dispute over what to call the Former Yugoslav Republic of Yugoslavia (FYROM), which identifies itself as the Republic of Macedonia.
That was decided after he met representatives of Greece, Adamantios Vassilakis, and FYROM, Zoran Jolevski, in New York on May 6.
Nimetz said the meetings gave him a chance to review each side’s positions but that no “new ideas” had emerged during the talks, essentially what he’s said since 1994 when then-US President Bill Clinton told him to try to figure it out.
Vassilakis said what he called FYROM’s intransigence is holding up a deal, while FYROM blames Greece for the same reason.
“Greece wants a solution but the other side has done absolutely nothing so far,” Vassilakos told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency. “It holds exactly the same position it did in 1995.”
The talks come in the wake of a snap election in FYROM, which swept the incumbent, Nikola Gruevski, a hardliner on the name issue, into another term, giving few prospects for hope.
Greece – which allowed the use of the word “Macedonia” in the FYROM acronym more than two decades ago, has been trying to reclaim it since, complaining that FYROM wants to usurp the Greek province of Macedonia on its border.
But every variation offered has also included the word “Macedonia,” leaving Greece little wiggle room to do anything about it other to keep blocking FYROM from any hopes of getting into NATO or the European Union.