UN envoy hopes Greece, fYROM will study name proposal ‘with an open mind’

The United Nations Special Representative for the name dispute between Greece and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Matthew Nimetz, said he will submit a new proposal to the two countries during a meeting at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday, hoping the two counties will consider the ideas with “an open mind”.

“It’s a new proposal because it is a new time and some of the ideas have been talked about for many years. I said in one interview a few weeks back, there’s no magic here. No one is going to discover something totally new. If there was something totally new we would have found it in the last 25 years,” he told Greek TV channel ANT1, responding to what he will present in New York.

“I hope they study my ideas carefully with an open mind and take a positive approach to solving the problem,” he added.

Nimetz said the people in Athens, Skopje and the United Nations “are not stupid” and that in the present circumstances people will “look at different solutions in a new way”.

He said Greece should be realistic in understanding that the name “Macedonia” will be included in any solution, but it will satisfy Greek requirements.

“But we have to be realistic. Right now, the name of the country in the United Nations is the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia [fYROM]. So the name ‘Macedonia’ is in the name now, in the United Nations, and recognized by Greece with that name. Over 100 countries recognize the state with ‘Republika Makedonija’, so it has ‘Macedonia’ in the name for most countries […] so the name ‘Macedonia’ is connected with this country, and I think that we can find a solution that will meet Greek requirements and also satisfy the people in the northern neighbor,” he said.

The UN envoy noted the changes that have taken place in the two countries in the past few years, saying they could facilitate a compromise on both sides.

“I think in Greece there is a thinking that Greece should play a more important role in the region and now that the economic and financial crisis is over people are looking to Greece to play this role. One of the ways to play this role is to solve this problem with their northern neighbor,” he said.

“Also in Skopje there is a thinking that some of the ideas of the past were not necessarily favourable, this is the time to solve this, get on with the European dimension of the country and the North-Atlantic dimension of the country and solve this problem with Greece,” he added.