Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is meeting in Vienna on Tuesday with Skopje counterpart Nikola Dimitrov and UN mediator Matthew Nimetz to negotiate on the Balkan country’s name.
The two neighboring country’s officials started bilateral talks on Monday and will continue on Tuesday with the UN middleman.
Nimetz’s presence was announced suddenly on Monday night.
Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday that the use of the term Macedonia in the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is unavoidable.
Speaking to his SYRIZA parliamentary group, Tsipras said that, “for better or worse, Greece has accepted the term ‘Macedonia’ in the name many years ago”.
Tsipras further said Greece was not negotiating not to lose something, but it is negotiating to win something, namely it will make FYROM accept a geographical designation to its name and prohibit Skopje from usurping Greek names and symbols.
Reportedly the Greek side has proposed the name “Republika Gorna Makedonija” (Republic of Upper Macedonia) and FYROM has apparently accepted it.
Bulgarian, Albanian reactions
Former Bulgarian president Georgi Parvanov said: “We recognize Macedonia as the constitutional name, but consider proposals such as Upper Macedonia or Northern Macedonia, are solutions that are in favor of Greece, but at the expense of Bulgarian interests.”
Speaking on Bulgarian television on Monday, Parvanov said it is good that the two Balkan neighbors talk to resolve the decades-old dispute, but “Upper” or “Northern” geographical descriptions are against Bulgarian interests.
“The name Northern or Upper Macedonia includes the region of Pirin; the Aegean region does not concern us and we do not comment on it, and at the same time the potential claims towards Bulgaria are up in the air.
“At least, it must be discussed between the governments of both countries,” Parvanov added.
Meanwhile, Albanian parties in FYROM say that the proposed Slavic name “Gorna Makedonija” is not acceptable to them.
According to the Independent Balkan News Agency, Ziadin Sela of the Alliance for Albanians said they are against any moves to come up with a Slav name.
“We’re against proposals for names in the Macedonian language, such as the case of ‘Gorna Makedonija’. We are against it because this is a tendency to appropriate the name,” Sela said.
Artan Grubi, advisor to BDI party leader Ali Ahmeti, said a new name must reflect the multi-ethnic character of the country.
“Macedonia is my country and the country of hundreds of thousands of other Albanians. Macedonia belonging to just Macedonians is a concept which doesn’t exist and Albanians cannot be ruled out of this vital process for our common future,” Grubi said.