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Macedonia, Greece Name Dispute Talks Set for End January

Date: 07.01.2011

New talks between Macedonia and Greece on their notorious "name dispute" are to take place at the end of January 2011.

The meeting of the special negotiators of Macedonia – Zoran Jolevski – and Greece Adamantios Vasilakis – together with the special UN envoy Matthew Nimetz – will take place on January 27, 2011.

It was originally scheduled for January 10, but was put off on Greece's insistence, BGNES reported. The new name dispute meeting will be the first in eight months.

In the recent days, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov and Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki have expressed optimism about new talks on the so called "name dispute" with Greece in the first weeks of 2011.

The notorious "name dispute" is based on Greek concerns with Macedonia's constitutional name ("Republic of Macedonia") because much of Northern Greece is called "Macedonia" as an administrative district. Therefore, recognizing the same name for its neighbor could legitimize potential territorial claims by Skopje.

Because of the name dispute, Greece has so far vetoed Macedonia's accession to NATO, and blockaded the start of EU accession talks with Macedonia. Because of the Greek position the Republic of Macedonia was admitted to the UN under the made-up name of "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)."

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