13 April 2005

Greece, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Continue Discussions with Special Representative on “Name” Issue

NEW YORK, 12 April (UN Headquarters) -- The following was received today from Matthew Nimetz, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in talks between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:

Pursuant to the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995, the representatives of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have continued to meet under the auspices of the Secretary-General.  During ongoing discussions with the parties, it has been the practice of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Matthew Nimetz, to make suggestions to them to assist them in finding a mutually acceptable resolution to the “name” issue.

As a part of this process, Mr. Nimetz has confirmed that on 29 March 2005 he submitted to the parties a set of ideas for their consideration.  During the two weeks since that date, he has met with representatives of both of the parties, who have informed him of the views of their Governments.  Both Athens and Skopje have confirmed that they wish to achieve a mutually agreed solution to this issue through discussions under the Secretary General’s auspices.  Such a solution, both agree, would resolve a difficult issue adversely affecting the region and the otherwise friendly relationship between two neighbouring States.

Although Mr. Nimetz could not report that there would be an imminent breakthrough, given the continuing differences between the parties, both sides have strongly encouraged him to intensify his efforts based on the positions they have recently given him.  Therefore, he has urged both Athens and Skopje to work with him through their established process, with a minimum of public statements, to determine how their differences can be bridged.  Discussions in future weeks will take place through discussions between Mr. Nimetz and each of the parties separately, as well as in more formal meetings involving both parties.

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