Tuesday, 14 August 2018 | News today: 19

Dimitrov, Kotzias, Nimetz resume name negotiations in New York

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Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias have resumed the name dispute negotiations mediated by UN envoy Matthew Nimetz in New York on Friday.

The meeting, as announced, began at 9:30 EST (3:30 pm CET), and the participants are expected to give statements on the progress of the talks after the end of today’s session.

Leading to the new round of name talks, which began Thursday at 4:30 CET, Dimitrov and Kotzias held individual meetings with UN Secretary-General António Guterres. They discussed the latest developments in the name dispute talks process taking place under the auspices of the United Nations.

“With vision and leadership on both sides, we have a historic opportunity to settle a decades-long, historic dispute,” Dimitrov said after his meeting with Guterres.

Greek FM Kotzias, on the other hand, after meeting UN’s Secretary-General, said that agreeing on a solution would require from the other side to display pragmatism and realism.

Asked about what he expected of Nimetz, Kotzias said that his expectations of the UN mediator were “his wisdom during negotiations.”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, meanwhile, announced that Greece was not participating in the negotiations to give anything away.

“We are not going to give away the name Macedonia, as some have claimed,” Tsipras told the Greek press. “We are going to take back something that was given away 70 years ago.”

Tsipras believes that the name without a determinant “refers to the ancient Greek world and the great cultural heritage of Greek Macedonia,” and that Athens is negotiating to get it back, which, according to Tsipras, “is not easy.”

The Greek PM said it was time for both countries to exist together, to cooperate and to live in peace for the benefit of the entire region.

The New York talks follow last week’s meeting between the two countries’ PMs Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras at the sidelines of the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia when the option “The Republic of Ilinden Macedonia” was proposed as the most acceptable.

The Macedonian side said it remains convinced the proposal was the right choice for the final solution, whereas the Greek side dismissed the option and said the negotiations would continue based on the four name variations from the package of proposals by Nimetz.