Macedonia Appoints New “Name” Negotiator

 Skopje – Macedonia on Monday is to notify UN envoy Matthew Nimetz that it has appointed Zoran Jolevski, its ambassador to the US, as negotiator in the “name row” talks with Greece.

Macedonia’s President Branko Crvenkovski is expected to sign the appointment note on Monday to formalise the decision, local media report.

For the past two years, Jolevski was Macedonia’s ambassador to the United States.

Before than he represented the country before the World Trade Organization and was chief of cabinet to the late Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski.

After being appointed this weekend, Jolevski said former negotiator Nikola Dimitrov and Prime Minister’s chief of staff Martin Protuger would remain in the team, local A1 TV reported.

Jolevski comes to the post at a time when the negotiations for finding a compromise to Macedonia’s name dispute have come practically to a halt. Skopje first fired its former negotiator, Dimitrov and later filed a suit against Greece before the International Court of Justice.

Macedonia argues that Greece has broken the 1995 United Nations-sponsored Interim Accord blocking the country’s bid to join NATO in April due to the unresolved row. According to the accord, Greece pledged no to do prohibit Macedonia’s joining of international organisations, so long it used the provisional reference, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM.

Athens argues that Macedonia’s name will lead Skopje to make territorial claims over the Greek northern province of the same name and says it will continue to block its neighbour from entering NATO and European Union pending a solution to the dispute.

Both countries however pledged to continue the UN negotiations despite the recent lawsuit by Skopje.

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