Report: FYROMacedonia, Greece Name Solution Sours

Report: FYROMacedonia, Greece Name Solution Sours

Skopje | 16 November 2009 | Sinisa-Jakov Marusic

Adamantios Vassilakis

The negotiation process has dramatically worsened during the last round of Athens-Skopje name talks in New York. Greece stepped up its demands and “Macedonia” offered no additional concessions, local media cite unnamed “Macedonian” government sources as saying.

According to A1 TV, while at the parlay with the UN name mediator Matthew Nimetz on Thursday, the Greek negotiator, Adamantios Vassilakis delivered a list of steep demands that set back efforts to find a solution.

Athens now insists its neighbor’s name be changed to the Republic of Northern Macedonia for full international use, as well as for “Macedonian” nationality to be specified as Northern Macedonian. Skopje has already said it would insist on preserving the “Macedonian” nationality classification, A1 TV said.

Moreover, Vassilakis insisted that the current use of the name Macedonia for commercial purposes is unacceptable for Greece, which requires all products bound for EU member-states to lose the Macedonia prefix and acquire the new one. The international code MK, as well as the Internet domain .mk. should also be altered, A1 says.

Citing unnamed diplomatic sources, the TV said that Nimetz has already notified the UN of this unfavorable shift in negotiations.

“Macedonia” wants a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue, one that preserves the identity, dignity and integrity of “Macedonian” citizens, the “Macedonian” negotiator in the name talks, Ambassador Zoran Jolevski, told Nimetz at a separate meeting in New York late Friday.

According to “Macedonian” media, Jolevski offered no additional concessions on “Macedonia’s” stance, stating that Skopje remains supportive of what has become known as the double name formula, envisaging one name to be used for interactions with Greece while maintaining the country’s current official name for wider international use. This was already rejected by Greece.

Last year, Athens blocked Skopje’s NATO accession over the 18 years-long spat. Athens insists that Skopje’s official name, the Republic of “Macedonia”, implies territorial claims towards its own northern province — also called Macedonia.

The new developments come after the EU urged both sides towards a speedy compromise in order to avoid another unpleasant Greek veto in December at the EU council. It is then that Skopje hopes to acquire a date for its EU accession talks, but Athens has reiterated that this will not happen if there is no breakthrough in the name talks.

A repeat Greek blockade can be avoided, Greece’s latest stance asserts, on the condition that Skopje informs Nimetz that it agrees to change its name. In that case, all additional details would be agreed upon by early next year

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