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Still no consensus on Macedonia name

Macedonia's PM says that none of the 3 proposals made by international intermediaries for Macedonia's name are acceptable.

US diplomat Matthew Nimitz put forward three names to Macedonian and Greek negotiators at their last meeting two days ago in Vienna–the Republic of Upper Macedonia, the New Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Macedonia Skopje–and called a meeting next week in New York to discuss them.

At separate meetings yesterday with the leaders of the four biggest political parties in Macedonia, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski stated that each of those proposals had been rejected by one or other negotiating side at least once over the last 15 years.

Skopje and Athens have been quarreling for years about the name of the Macedonian state, and Greece is threatening to veto Macedonian NATO membership if no compromise can be found.

While Skopje officially insists on the name that is written in the Macedonian Constitution—the Republic of Macedonia—Athens opposes the name because it would infer territorial claims to the northern Greek region that bears the same name.

“I hope that we will all work together so that this process will have a happy ending. The important negotiations are still to come,” said the leader of the Democratic Party of Albanians (DSA) Menduh Thaci after his meeting with the prime minister in the government building.

The leader of the biggest opposition party, the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), Radmila Chekerinska said that everything possible had to be done for Macedonia to return from the NATO summit in Bucharest with an invitation for membership.

“But that doesn’t mean we have to question our identity and history,” she said, adding that the SDSM insisted that Macedonia keep negotiating and show that it will keep working to reach a solution before the start of the summit on April 2.

The only official who did not give a statement to the media after the meeting was the leader of the biggest Albanian opposition party, the Democratic Party for Integration (DUI), Ali Ahmeti. (B92)