Talks were held on Thursday in Skopje between FYR Macedonia and Greece to solve this problem once and for all: what to call the new republic. Since Macedonia seceded from the Yugoslav Federation in 1991; Greece has waged a campaign in the international media against the use of the same name as its northern province by any foreign power.
Suspicious that the new republic would impose territorial claims over Greek Macedonia, Athens refused to recognise it and imposed an economic blockade. After seven years of UN-sponsored talks, the International Crisis Group has come up with a solution. Macedonia shall use the name “Republika Makedonija (Ma-ke-DO-niya)” and this will be used by all countries, except Greece, which can use a different name.
In return, the Republika Makedonija would respect and honour the legacy of Greek culture within its borders.
This is the agenda for the meeting between the two sides. If approved, it will be yet another diplomatic triumph in the Balkans, a settling of accounts between two neighbours who have realised that they can co-exist in harmony.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru