Sunday, 16 December 2018 | News today: 2

Kathimerini: Pace of name talks slows down


After a strong start, talks between government officials from Athens and Skopje over the name dispute have slowed down significantly, Greek daily Kathimerini reports.

There had been hopes that Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias would visit Skopje last week but the drop in momentum has postponed that trip indefinitely.

“This week he is due to speak at Tufts University in Boston and so would not have been able to travel to Skopje anyway. But the differences that continue to separate Greek and FYROM officials could mean that a trip will not happen until the end of March,” reads Kathimerini.

Kotzias’s trip, when it comes, will be the first direct flight from Athens to Skopje in 12 years.

Meanwhile, diplomats will be closely monitoring a scheduled visit to Skopje on Tuesday by US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell, who is due to arrive in Athens on Thursday.

In a statement released before his trip, the State Department said Mitchell will reaffirm US support for FYROM’s “Euro-Atlantic aspirations” and for its “ongoing negotiations with Greece.”

“Although FYROM has followed through on pledges to make symbolic changes – such as changing the names of Skopje’s international airport and a key highway which had both included the name of Alexander the Great – Greek officials are concerned at the absence of any shift on matters of substance,” says Kathimerini.