Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have agreed to resume talks over the naming of the Republic of Macedonia.
The United Nations will mediate discussions between the two countries in New York from 16th January 2012. Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece and Ambassador Zoran Jolevski will attempt to reach a resolution to the dispute which has been ongoing since 1995. Matthew Nimetz, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for the talks, will host the ambassadors for two days.
The Republic of Macedonia lies adjacent to a region of Greece also named Macedonia. Broadly speaking, the government in Athens is opposed to recognising the title “Republic of Macedonia” as it believes such a name would lead to territorial claims by the Republic of Macedonia over the Macedonian region of Greece.
Possible naming solutions that have been aired include:
- “Republic of Upper Macedonia”
- “New Republic of Macedonia”
- “Republic of New Macedonia”
- “Republic of Macedonia-Skopje”
The dispute has held back the political, cultural and economic development of the small nation, which gained independence in 1991. Wrangles over the naming reached fever pitch when deciding upon seating at the UN in New York under the provisional reference of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” with Greece opposing a seat under “M”, Macedonia opposing a seat under “F” and the UN finally seating the republic’s representative under “T”.