New proposal reportedly tabled in Macedonia name dispute

SKOPJE -- A mediator in the Macedonia name dispute, that has been ongoing for 20 years now, has reportedly suggested "the Upper Republic of Macedonia" as a solution.

(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)

The former federal Yugoslav republic of Macedonia's constitutional name, "the Republic of Macedonia", is unacceptable to its neighbor to the south Greece, whose northern province is also called Macedonia.

According to the NOVA website, the latest suggestion should be used on a temporary bases, instead of another temporary solution, "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)" - under which the country was admitted to the UN.

The website is citing unnamed diplomatic sources involved in the negotiations to report that the proposal came during the final round of negotiations in New York last week. It was tabled by veteran U.S. diplomat and UN mediator Matthew Nimetz.

This new name would be the name used during the negotiations on Macedonia's accession to the EU, which would take at least seven to eight years, the report said.

After that, a referendum would be held in which the citizens of Macedonia would vote on two issues: "on joining the EU, and on the name the Upper Republic of Macedonia."

However, there have been disagreements about the latest proposal as well. The suggestion, reportedly insisted on by Skopje, would be acceptable to Greece "if the geographical determinant were to be placed before the word 'Macedonia', and not in front of the word 'Republic'."

Greece has reportedly given its consent to Macedonia, with the addition of the word "upper", to join NATO and start negotiations for EU accession.

In return, Macedonia would enter an amendment into its Constitutionthat read: "From the day the Republic of Macedonia joins the EU, the international name of the country will be the Upper Republic of Macedonia and will be used in all languages ​​- except in official languages ​​of the country."

According to the website, this amendment would also be approved or rejected in a referendum.

The two sides are reportedly expected to state their position on the proposal in the coming days, and reach an agreement by mid-May.

The article further said that EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule "supported Nimetz as he was determining the proposal", along with consultations with the two sides, the United States and other international factors.