Wednesday, July 25, 2012

UN head to help resolve Macedonian name dispute

SKOPJE -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has stated that he would personally do his best to make the solving of a name dispute between Skopje and Athens faster.
Ban Ki-moon (Beta)
Ban Ki-moon (Beta)
“We will make a maximum effort in the talks with the Greek authorities and I will try to do my best in talks with (Greek) Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in order to help speed up the process,” Ban said in Ohrid after a meeting with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov.
The UN head stressed that he would send UN Envoy and mediator in the solving of the dispute Matthew Nimetz to Athens immediately.

“I stress my commitment to find a quick solution, my personal envoy Matthew Nimetz will inform the Greek government about the things we talked about and he will be engaged even deeper and more seriously in order to find a solution as soon as possible,” he told a press conference.

Ban expressed regret over the fact that the name dispute had hindered “regional cooperation, reconciliation and development,” AFP has reported.

The name dispute has existed between Greece and Macedonia ever since the former Yugoslav republic declared independence in 1991, bearing in mind that Athens believes that the name only refers to its northern province.

Macedonia got an EU candidate status in 2005 but the accession talks have not started yet since Greece has decided to block them until the name dispute is resolved.

The UN secretary general will today wrap up his two-day visit to Macedonia and will head to Bosnia-Herzegovina which is the last stop on his Western Balkans tour.

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