Macedonia welcomes Serbia's offer of mediation in name dispute

13:58, January 07, 2010      

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Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said on Wednesday that his country welcomes the offer of Serbian President Boris Tadic to mediate the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece.

"Tadic's offer is well-intentioned. He is neither first nor last politician who wishes to help. Many have tried. Everybody who wishes to help is welcomed," Gruevski said in Israel, to which he is paying an official visit.

Tadic told a meeting of ambassadors in Belgrade on Tuesday that Serbia wants to mediate the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou also attended the meeting.

Athens and Skopje have been locked in a dispute over Macedonia's name since the tiny western Balkan country got its independence from former Yugoslavia in 1991. The row has so far impeded Macedonia's entry into NATO and its EU accession.

Athens argues that Skopje's constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia implies territorial ambitions over its northern province, also called Macedonia.

Analysts in Macedonia said that Serbia's proposal might be intended to strengthen its position in the region, but Macedonia shouldn't discard right away.

"Another informal way of communication through Belgrade would be welcomed, although the official talks are held under the UN mediation of Matthew Nimetz," an unnamed Macedonian diplomat told local media.

Source: Xinhua
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