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Greece, Former Yugoslav Rep. Of Macedonia Talks

Greece, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to hold UN-led talks on name

Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have agreed to hold a fresh round of direct talks next month over the official name of the latter country and related issues following consultations by a United Nations envoy in the two capitals this week.

Matthew Nimetz, the Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for the talks between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, held talks today with senior Greek officials in Athens, two days after he conducted similar meetings in Skopje.

The first round of fresh talks will take place in Skopje next month and will be hosted by Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters. It will be the first time that direct talks in the UN-brokered process are being held in the region, rather than in New York.

Ms. Okabe said a second round of talks will be hosted later by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis in Athens.

Today Mr. Nimetz met with Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Ms. Bakoyannis, opposition leader George Papandreou and other officials.

He found heightened concern in the region about the possibility of deteriorating relations between the two countries as a result of the "name issue." But Mr. Nimetz noted that there was also recognition of the positive developments that could ensue if a solution is reached.

Mr. Nimetz's consultations this week follow a meeting he initiated in New York early last month between representatives of the two countries.

The Interim Accord of 13 September 1995, which was brokered by the UN, details the difference between the two countries regarding the official name of the former Yugoslav republic. It also obliges the two sides to continue negotiations under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General to try to reach agreement on their dispute.


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