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Nimetz believes in a possibility for finding a name solution that meets national interests of both Macedonia and Greece

April 1, 2012

Source: MIA, 31.03.2012

Skopje, 31 March 2012 (MIA) – We should be very persistent this year to create favorable conditions for Skopje and Athens to reach an agreement. It means a real dialogue, as well as public statements and activities that will open a road to possible agreement, the UN mediator in Macedonian-Greek name talks, Matthew Nimetz, says in an interview with the MTV program ‘Porta’.

Nimetz considers that the governments in Skopje and Athens should set the name issue settlement as their priority.

“I am very encouraged that the dialogue between the Prime Ministers has resumed and consider that as a positive sign,” Nimetz says.

He is not discouraged that the name mediation process has failed to bring result for the last 17 years.

“All those years of negotiations have not been in vain, although I am sorry that we have failed to make substantial progress and find a solution to the matter. I know that some people are discouraged, but it is not the case with me in this stage of the (negotiating) process. What we have learned thus far is that if people are neighbours and should find a solution to a rather delicate matter, they can only do that by reaching a compromise. If you wish to be good neighbor, you should understand the way of thinking of the other side, which requires for the parties involved to make certain adjustments,” Nimetz says.

He considers the ruling of The Hague-based International Court of Justice as very significant and one that should be taken seriously by everybody.

The UN mediator points out that thus far he presented numerous proposals to both parties, but ‘unfortunately none of them was acceptable for the two countries.’

“However, there is always a possibility for a new, more successful idea to come up, or some old proposal to be reformulated on the satisfaction of both countries. Although I am aware that one day a solution to this matter will be found, there always be some people in the both countries who will consider it to be incorrect. Maybe we will never have a solution that will be completely accepted by both parties, but I believe in a possibility for finding a final solution that will meet the national interests of the two countries,” Nimetz says.

Commenting the inclusion of identity affairs in the process, Nimetz says that under the UN resolutions and the Article 5 of the Interim Accord, a mutual agreement should be reached on the country’s name.

“The UN resolutions say nothing about the identity of people. I believe that people are the ones that define their identity. It is obvious that during that process they must respect the identity of others, especially of their neighbors, hence this also turns out to be a very important issue. But we have to know what enjoys a status of priority. At the moment it refers to resolving the country’s official name that is going to be accepted by everybody and will mark out the route for settling regional matters and the membership in various organizations. If we settle this (the name) matter, I am certain that everything else will come in its place,” Nimetz says.

It is most important for the country to close this matter in order to move forward as a full fledged member of the Euro-Atlantic organizations, including NATO and EU, he says.

“This must be the top priority. We are all aware how difficult the name dispute is and that the two nations must settle it and act in favor of establishing good relations, friendship for this process to function. One day both countries are going to be members of NATO and partners within the EU. We wish to come to that stage as soon as possible and have been making attempts to build positive relations between the two countries,” Nimetz says. lk/11:51

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