New round of name talks today in Vienna

Macedonian and Greek foreign ministers Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kotzias and the UN mediator Matthew Nimetz are to hold fresh meeting on Wednesday afternoon in Vienna.

The previous meeting in the same format was also held in Vienna on March 30. Meanwhile, Kotzias and Dimitrov held bilateral meeting on April 12 in Ohrid.

Kotzias told 24/7 radio station that agreement cannot be reached until NATO Summit in July.

The European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, expects for the Athens-Skopje name dispute to be solved in the next 15 days.

‘There must be at least one solution which would give way to the start of the EU accession talks for fYRoM. I believe everybody agrees that it will be good for the country and the entire Western Balkan region,’ Hahn said in his address at the European Parliament Committee for Foreign Affairs, IBNA reported.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev does not believe that the name issue can be solved in two weeks, referring to an earlier statement by Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn claiming that Athens and Skopje can reach agreement in the coming fortnight.

“Commissioner Hahn is a friend of Macedonia and God willing he has information that talks can finish in a couple of weeks. I also wish this, but do not believe it is possible. The countries’ foreign ministers will meet tomorrow and I know what discussions will focus on and the projected outcome. In general, I expect that maximum efforts will be invested up to the EU Council decision, because a solution by then is the definite guarantee for an accession talks date,” PM Zaev told reporters at the joint press conference with former NATO chief George Robertson.

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn to refrain from giving a wrong image of the name talks.

“We call on Commissioner Hahn to stop giving a wrong image of the negotiations which, as it seems, he does not understand. The least he can do is to stop undermining them,” reads the press release.

As announced after Ohrid meeting, Dimitrov and Kotzias will hold the next two meetings on May 3-4, at Thessaloniki’s quadrilateral cross-border meeting, and on May 11-12 in Sounio, at a meeting of the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Greece, the Visegrad countries and the Western Balkans.