State, political leaders hold coordination meeting on name issue ahead of Nimetz’s visit

The content of the initial framework tabled by UN name mediator Matthew Nimetz at the name talks held on Jan. 17 in New York, details of the meeting of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras as well as the course of the process to accelerate negotiations aimed at finding a name solution was the focal point of Saturday’s first coordination meeting of state and political leaders regarding the name issue.

The meeting was ‘informative’ and ‘constructive’, concurred all participants in the five-hour meeting that took place at the MPs’ Club in Skopje.

After the meeting, no one wanted to share details about Nimetz’s proposal, they fell short of revealing whether it is acceptable and whether the political stakeholders have managed to harmonize their views. They said they would hold meetings in the same format in the future so as to coordinate positions in order the name issue to be solved.

Yesterday’s meeting was attended by PM Zaev, Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska.

President Gjorge Ivanov, DUI leader Ali Ahmeti, who was joined by Deputy PM Bujar Osmani, and leader of the opposition party VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickoski were also in attendance.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Premier Zaev said that he was ‘optimistic’ and that a national consensus could be reached.

Tonight, the ideas put forward by mediator (Matthew) Nimetz were presented and discussed, after which we shared information and views, also about the meeting I had with PM (Alexis) Tsipras. This process requires inclusion, commitment and political accountability in a bid to build a national consensus. By settling the 25-year bilateral dispute, we are committed to providing progress and integration of Macedonia into the EU and NATO, as well as to protecting the national interests and dignity of our people,” noted Zaev.

To meet these goals, he said, it is necessary the government, the opposition, the head of state, to be included and it is equally necessary to inform the citizens of Macedonia on time and in an objective manner.

President Ivanov said he expected that in the future the government would inform about the entire process and that all activities would be coordinated.

From now on, the negotiating process is in the hands of the government, said VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski adding he expected to be informed in-depth about the process in the future.

According to the opposition leader, such a coordination meeting should have taken place much earlier. Mickoski told journalists that he didn’t want to comment on Nimetz’s proposals because ‘the process is in progress.’

The DUI leader called the coordination meeting ‘a beginning of the end of an important process.’

Ali Ahmeti said the meeting was ‘quite constructive’ before failing to provide more details from the meeting so as not to harm the process.

The coordination meeting of Macedonian state and political leaders on the name issue was held ahead of the UN name envoy’s visit to Skopje.

Matthew Nimetz on Jan. 29-30 will pay a visit to Athens before traveling to Skopje on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.