Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief due in Macedonia to discuss membership bid

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief due in Macedonia to discuss membership bid

Following fresh talks between Macedonia and Greece in NY on Wednesday, UN mediator Matthew Nimetz said he was "hopeful" that a solution to the 27-year-long dispute is in reach.

Nimetz said that within the next few weeks he aims to visit both capitals, Athens and Skopje, to feel the pulse regarding his proposals and see whether the talks could move forward.

Former ambassador Nano Ruzin says that there are positive signals from the meeting in NY, referring to the declaration made by intermediary Mathew Nimetz that the name "Macedonia" will be part of the proposals.

During talks at the United Nations, UN envoy Matthew Nimetz presented a proposal for a compromise to envoys that will now be discussed in Athens and Skopje.

"I am hopeful that my suggestions would lead them, both governments, to think creatively about a solution", Nimetz said.

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Stoltenberg told Macedonian lawmakers that he welcomes the willingness and resolve Prime Minister Zoran Zaev's government has shown to solve the dispute since he came to power seven months ago.

But Stoltenberg insisted that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership "is about much more than solving the name issue". Macedonia is also the name of a northern province in Greece and Athens is anxious that the use of the same name by the neighboring state could lead to territorial claims.

Upon conclusion of the meeting, Naumovski told Macedonian media that the ideas presented were far from a dignified solution for Macedonia.

FYROM will not be invited to join NATO unless there is a mutually acceptable solution to the name dispute, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated in an interview with the country's MIA news agency, part of which was published on Wednesday.

During the trilateral meeting in NY, a set of ideas was presented by Nimetz for a solution on the name issue.

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