Nimetz: It is not realistic to expect fYROM will accept not to have ‘Macedonia’ in its name …
Athens.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Greek government is studying the proposals of the personal envoy of the UN Secretary General on the name issue, Matthew Nimetz, following his meeting in New York with the negotiators of Greece and fYROM, Adamantios Vasilakis and Vasko Naumovski. Ambassador Nimetz is planning to visit both capitals in the next 15 days to see if there is common ground for further negotiations on a higher level, in order to reach a compromise before the High Level NATO Summit in June.
According to a report published in Skopje, Matthew Nimetz tabled five name proposals – Republika Nova Makedonija, Republika Gorna Makedonija, Republika Severna Makedonija, Republika Vardarska Makedonija and Republika Makedonija (Skopje). Nimetz also proposed that FYROM’s language and nationality should be called Makedonski and Makedonska respectively.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias – who met on Thursday at the Maximos Mansion with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras – refused to comment on rampant media speculation in Skopje about the contents of the name proposals submitted by Nimetz
Meanwhile, in what was seen as an unusual political move, Tsipras met on Thursday with Greek Archbishop Ieronymos to discuss the ongoing negotiations before the government briefed the country’s political party leaders on the latest developments. The meeting took place at the Archdiocese in Athens after Tsipras was briefed by Kotzias on the results of the talks so far.
A close aide justified the premier’s decision to speak with the archbishop before party leaders, saying that “we inform anyone who asks us.”
The aide added that the two men had exchanged letters on the name dispute before their meeting and that they are in regular contact.
However, New Democracy took issue with the government on Thursday for making decisions without informing party leaders.
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II called for consensus, communication and national unity concerning the ongoing talks on the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), during his meeting with the Prime Minister. During the meeting, the Archbishop said there is no need for protest rallies and expressed confidence in the government concerning the handling of this issue, a press release from the Archdiocese said.
On his side, Tsipras reiterated his respect for the positions and concerns of the Greek Church on the issue and called on Ieronymos to promote an atmosphere of national unity and responsibility without vociferous reactions and pointless confrontations, according to the press release.
The prime minister also expressed an interest on the ecclesiastical element of the issue concerning the name of the Church in the neighbouring country and assured the Archbishop he will keep him informed about any developments.
On Friday Archbishop Ieronymos met with the President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the Presidential Mansion. President Pavlopoulos praised the stance of the Greek Church towards issues that concern the country which he said aims to promote consensus.
The comments came after the Archbishop requested a meeting with the President to inform him about the ecclesiastical parameters of the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
“There is an ordinary alertness on all issues that concern the country and our national interests,” he said after he welcomed the Archbishop. “A stance which aims at promoting consensus without interfering in policy issues, which is very important at times like these.”
Pavlopoulos said Orthodoxy has set the tone for the country’s culture.
On his side, the Archbishop said the FYROM name issue has many parameters, one of which is the ecclesiastical, on which he wanted to brief the President. He said the issue primarily concerns the Ecumenical Patriarchate but “we have to contribute as well because we will have repercussions on the life of our Church”.
NATO’s secretary-general who visited Skopje on January 18, urge Prime Minister Zoran Zaev to solve its 25-year-old name dispute with alliance member Greece and proceed with wide-ranging reforms if it wants its membership bid to succeed.
Jens Stoltenberg said he “strongly welcomes” the small Balkan country’s efforts to join NATO – a decade after the dispute with neighboring Greece halted an earlier accession effort.
“But while it is good to be ambitious, it is also important to be realistic,” Stoltenberg said in an address to the parliament in the capital, Skopje.
“There is still much hard work to be done,” he added. “That means, of course, resolving the issue of your country’s name. It’s an issue that has weighed on this region – and this country – for far too long.”
Speaking during a press conference after the talks, Stoltenberg said:
“I should be honest with you. There is no other way to join NATO until an acceptable solution on the name is found. There is no plan B,”
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday, who briefed him of his recent visit to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Tsipras welcomed Stoltenberg’s statements concerning the name dispute with the neighbouring country, stressing the importance of faithfully adhering to the declaration of the Bucharest Summit.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on Friday announced that he will meet with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras on January 24 in Davos, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. There was no confirmation from the Greek government.
Zaev appeared optimistic over a solution on the name issue.
“I am optimistic and I believe that between two friendly countries the will exists to come closer and find a solution to the issue of the name, a dignified solution for both sides, for the benefit of citizens in both countries,” stated Zaev from the city of Struga, where he attended a religious ceremony (today is Epiphany under the Julian calendar, which is followed by some Eastern Orthodox churches) .
However, Zaev reiterated that any solution found will be put to a referendum in FYROM, so that the citizens of that country can decide to reject or accept it.
Nimetz: It is not realistic to expect fYROM will
accept not to have ‘Macedonia’ in its name …
United Nations.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Photos: GANP/Dimitrios Panagos
The UN Secretary-General’s personal envoy Matthew Nimetz said on Wednesday he is hopeful that negotiations between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter’s name is gaining new momentum after a meeting with the representatives of the two countries in New York to discuss the decades-old dispute.
Nimetz met at the UN Headquarters with the negotiators of Greece and fYROM Ambassadors Adamantios Vassilakis and Vasko Naumovski, in an attempt to break the impasse of the past 27 years.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Nimetz said the two sides will take his proposals back to their respective countries to study them.
“I really believe we have leadership in both Athens and Skopje that genuinely want a solution. I mean they don’t just say they want a solution, I think they believe it’s in the national interest of both countries to solve this problem,” he said.
“We discussed the general issue that we have been discussing for some time and I gave a set of ideas based on what the parties have been talking about recently as maybe a helpful framework for the parties to consider as we go forward. I went through it at the meeting. Obviously, the two sides, having just received it didn’t have any real comments, and they’re taking it back to their capitals. I am very hopeful that this process is moving in a positive direction,” he explained.
Nimetz acknowledged this is a “tough issue” over which there are a lot of strong feelings in both countries, but noted that there’s also a will to reach a settlement.
“There’s a good attitude, both ambassadors are seasoned diplomats and have perceptive comments to make, so I’m hopeful that my suggestions will lead them and their governments to think creatively for a solution,” he said.
The U.S. diplomat also urged the leaders of opposition parties in the respective countries to “take a constructive attitude” on the talks, saying they are very important participants in the political life of both countries. “This is an important regional issue, important for the security of the region and from the point of view of the Secretary-General it is very important to reach a conclusion,” he explained.
Nimetz confirmed that a new set of ideas were tabled today, but refused to go into details.
“There’s a set of proposals, of ideas. I’m not going to comment on what’s in them. I gave them to both parties and they have to take them back to their governments and consider it and study it and see if it’s helpful,” he said.
“My ideas as a whole are new because it’s a new combination of ideas. When you talk about an issue in a dispute for 25 years it is very unlikely that you will come up with something completely new. However, I think the situation in the region is somewhat different, the participants are different, so I view this as a good set of ideas; a compromise and a package that both sides should feel comfortable with that will lead to a dignified and satisfactory solution.”
In the next phase, the UN official said the two governments have invited him to their respective capitals to talk about these ideas. The visits are expected to be held in the next few weeks and will provide a sense of whether talks are moving forward. They will be followed by intensive meetings, possibly at a higher level.
“This group stands ready to meet again. I think the next one or two months will be a good period in which we should know whether we can make some serious progress or not,” he said.
Resolving the impasse with FYROM’s name will be good for Greece, FYROM and the region, Nimetz said, noting both countries also have national interests and they want to pursue them, noting it is “their responsibility and they have to make some very tough choices”.
He said he believed the people of the region are ready to solve this problem, the international community really wants it solved there are some very objective reasons why this should be solved. Asked if a solution could be found in the next six months, he said “Yes”.
Commenting on reports that demonstrations are planned in northern Greece to protest the name of the term “Macedonia”, the U.S. envoy said people have the right to make their views known, but added that both countries will have to compromise.
“The political life in both countries is very vigorous and democratic. I’ve watched Greek politics for many years and I think people express their views, this is their right […] There are people in both countries that have a very negative attitude. What their solution is in practical terms is never clear to me. Should it continue for another 25 years? Is that going to be helpful to the young people in the area? But each country is a democracy and they will work it out in their way. If they don’t want an agreement there won’t be an agreement,” he said.
Responding to media criticism that he may not be objective, because every name he proposed includes the term “Macedonia”, he said he tries to present solutions that will work in both countries.
“I think I’m objective and I try to find possibilities that have some sense of realism to it […]. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect the fYROM not to have ‘Macedonia’ of some form in its name. I don’t expect the people of that country to accept it. I don’t propose names that I think are not within the realm of realism. I don’t think that makes me non-objective. I think I am quite objective because I am trying to find solutions that will work in both countries,” he said.