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UN talks aimed at resolving name dispute between Greece, Macedonia May 23, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Macedonia, Yunanistan.
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The United Nations is to launch a new round of talks to resolve an ongoing name row between Greece and its northern neighbour, provisionally called the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia  in April.

Macedonia Foreign Minister Antonio Miloski told journalists Thursday on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Brussels, that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou held talks with Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevksi.

“The position of the two countries on the name issue remains largely divided,” Miloski was quoted as saying by the Athens News Agency.

“Despite this it is a positive development that these meetings are taking place and provide us the opportunity to examine these positions and the entire issue,” he said.

The UN secretary general’s special mediator on the Macedonia issue, Matthew Nimitz, is scheduled to bring a package of ideas to Athens and Skopje in April based on discussions with the two sides.

The Greek government, under the leadership of Papandreou, has placed the name issue among the top items of its foreign policy agenda.

The United Nations formally refers to the country as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), while Skopje prefers the name Republic of Macedonia.

Greece and its northern neighbour have been at loggerheads over the right to the name of “Macedonia” since 1991, when Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia.

Athens claims the name dispute implies territorial claims on its own northern province of Macedonia, where Alexander the Great was born.

UN-led negotiations on the issue have proved fruitless and Greece used its veto to block Macedonia from becoming a member of NATO.

The name dispute has also slowed Skopje’s integration into the EU.

Skopje was granted EU candidate status in 2005, but Athens has threatened to veto the beginning of the talks if a solution is not found to the name row.

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