27 March, 2008
A new proposal was put forward by the UN Special Mediator Matthew Nimetz on the FYROM name issue. The proposal was presented on Tuesday to the Greek and FYROM negotiators during a crucial meeting in New York and "is being assessed" according to foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos.
According to a foreign ministry announcement on the new round of UN-brokered talks aimed at finding a mutually acceptable solution to the FYROM name issue, Koumoutsakos made the following statement:
"Mr. Nimetz, in the framework of the ongoing efforts in the framework of the United Nations, has submitted another proposal. The proposal is being assessed. The initial conclusion is that we are far from a mutually acceptable solution. The effort is continuing."
Meanwhile, US White House spokeswoman Dana Perino replied to questions during a press briefing on Tuesday on whether or not US President George Bush had "any other way" in mind for Athens and Skopje to reach an agreement prior to the NATO summit (at the beginning of April in Bucharest). She said: "We continue to encourage Greece and 'Macedonia' to reach an agreement before we get to Bucharest so that we can deal with this issue prior to getting there. But if it's going to take all the way -- take all the time up to the NATO conference, then that decision will be made there. But certainly the President believes that they should be able to work this out."
When Perino was questioned on whether or not NATO would be asked to "grant a kind of extension of three or six months" for FYROM's accession if the New York talks failed, she replied, "We should take first things first, before we get ahead of ourselves. Let's let them continue to work together. I think that the time factor is a forcing event, and that they should be coming together to work this out before we get to NATO."
Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios of America called on President Bush to use his influence to back "a faithful ally, as is Greece" on the FYROM name issue and the Cyprus issue during his address at a special ceremony held at the White House celebrating the March 25th Greek Independence Day, the 187th anniversary of the commencement of the 1821 Greek Revolution against Ottoman rule.
After outlining the values and principles that the Greek nation has stood and fought for since antiquity to the present, the Archbishop underlined that Greece in our days "constitutes a strong factor for stability, progress and peace in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean basin".
He stressed, however, that this very same Greek nation, "in a series of sensitive national issues, receives by some nations treatment which is unjust, by any standards. The issues of the reunification of Cyprus, and of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, for instance, are two characteristic examples of this."
"Speaking rather boldly, on this solemn day, we express our firm conviction that you will certainly exercise your unique authority and leadership in order to facilitate a course of action that will treat sensitive issues related to Greece in a fair and dignified way," the Archbishop continued, stressing that "Greece is not seeking special favors or unreasonable deference".
"The Hellenic nation is a proud and honorable nation, a faithful ally of the USA for generations, which throughout its long history has established as a fact that it does not depend on favors, but on justice and respect," Demetrios said.
Expressing appreciation for the Bush administration's support on such matters as the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Archbishop stressed that the same resoluteness was needed on the two outstanding issues of Cyprus and FYROM, which were "vital for the Greek nation and its beneficial role in promoting peace, justice and freedom in Southeastern Europe".
Source: Athens News Agency