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14 April 2024

UN’s 20-year envoy on name dispute cheers vote

Photo: AP


The man who spent 20 years as the U.N.’s mediator in a name dispute between Greece and Macedonia says the Greek parliament’s ratification of a reconciliation agreement “ushers in a new era for the consolidation of peace and security in the Balkans.”

Matthew Nimetz said in a statement that the Friday vote by lawmakers in Athens to endorse the deal also “opens the door to a new relationship” between the countries after the 27-year dispute over rights to the Macedonia name.

Under the deal Nimetz helped negotiate, Macedonia will be renamed North Macedonia in return for Greece dropping objections to its membership in NATO and, eventually, the European Union.

Macedonia’s parliament approved constitutional changes to rename the country North Macedonia on Jan. 11.

Nimetz was U.S. President Clinton’s envoy in the mediation of the dispute for 1½ years and has been the U.N. secretary-general’s representative on the issue since 1999.

He says he looks forward to the completion of the process outlined in the agreement.