- Saturday, November 11, 2017 11:59 AM
Skopje, 11 November 2017 (MIA) - The name dispute after the end of the local elections in Macedonia and the success accomplished by the ruling coalition returns again in the focus of international diplomacy, marked by great optimism and expectations for its final outcome, whereat the first meeting of negotiators on both sides is expected to be held by the end of the month. This has been confirmed by the statements given by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, foreign ministers of Macedonia and Greece, Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kotzias as well as the optimistic announcements of the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Hoyt Brian Yee.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Friday that Macedonia must be prepared to make a step forward in the name issue adding that chances for a solution now are greater than before.
"Macedonia and Greece have a greater chance than before to find a solution. I expect things to move forward by the end of this month, at least of negotiators and Nimetz. I am available, the Foreign Minister is prepared, we already held talks with the President. Macedonia must be ready for a step forward towards reaching a final settlement of the issue", PM Zaev said.
He expects the opposition to be involved in the process, not by putting obstacles and delaying, but towards finding a solution to the problem that hinders Macedonia's integration process.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias earlier this week laid out the government’s intentions regarding the name dispute with Macedonia. “I believe this issue must be settled within the first half of 2018. If it’s not, there will be major difficulties. If it gets resolved, it will then be a matter of three to four months of bureaucracy at the United Nations. As a result, it should wrap up by the end of 2018. If we do not manage [to reach a settlement] by the end of 2018, 2019 starts off with presidential elections in the neighboring country and then, in the summer of 2019, it will be our turn to hold an election,” Kotzias said.
The process of solving the name dispute is better than it has ever been and is the closest it has ever been to finding a resolution, a top US official said Tuesday.
"There is a lot of work that needs to be done by both sides. There will be negotiations and I'm optimistic that there will be a solution because the mood in Greece and Macedonia is better than it has ever been for resolving this name issue," Hoyt Brian Yee, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, said at a debate at the Center for International Relations in Washington.
Commenting the statement given by the Hoyt Brian Yee, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, FM Dimitrov underlined that that there is an attempt to create a positive climate, which comes as lesson learned with Macedonia of that can happen when a country is left in the EU waiting room for long time.
He announced that a meeting at the level of negotiators on the name dispute will be held by the end of this month.
We are close to setting the date. In this first phase, mediator Matthew Nimetz will not visit the region. It is likely that it will happen this month, once it is defined, Dimitrov stated.
Greek website "Difernews" has published a text titled "FyRoM to join NATO on 11-12 July 2018, name issue in the hands of Kotzias and SYRIZA", claiming there is an agenda for the problem's settlement.
Citing confidential diplomatic sources, the text says Macedonia will first remove statues and "completely destroy project Skopje 2014" in order to join NATO.
"The name issue enters its final stage, with a definitive solution to help the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia join the Alliance at the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11-12", says "Difernews" and adds that the accession will symbolically occur on the 10. anniversary from the Greek veto to Macedonia's NATO accession in Bucharest.
According to the portal, visible progress is expected by February 2018, followed by the European Commission Progress Report in April, which will urge for a date over the beginning of Macedonia's EU accession talks.
Even though seemingly Macedonia has the least problems involving peace treaties, the country's security depended on a resolution to the name issue and the prospect of Macedonia joining NATO, it was noted at a debate at the Center for International Relations in Washington, which was attended by Hoyt Brian Yee, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs. sk/11:57
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