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November 27, 2012 |  23 comments |  Print  Your Opinion  

Stewart Rowles

Macedonia Does NOT Deserve NATO Membership

Stewart Rowles: All I see is a country using NATO to get to the Golden Goose of the EU. What benefits are there for NATO when the majority of the FYROM’s Slav population detests NATO for kicking the fellow Slavic Serbs out and bringing the ethnic Albanians power in neighboring Kosovo?

Jahja Esli and Boneva Boyka make the case on atlantic-community.org for Macedonia (FYROM) to join NATO. They argue that NATO's Open Door Policy was reaffirmed at the last Chicago Summit, but its doors remain firmly closed for Macedonia which has been aspiring membership since 1999 and continues to contribute more than its fair share to missions.

The article reads like a case of victim orientated opinion; the usual argument is expressly and impliedly centered around Greece and its intransigence with FYROM regarding their name and that if only this was sorted then NATO membership would be assured and how much the FYR Macedonians deserve this NATO membership. Let me elucidate why I believe this vein of thought should be taken in the light it deserves.

My military unit deployed to the Balkans and had driven to Skopje via Greece as part of Op Agricola and before we had even arrived at our destination in Skopje, locals had got on a bridge over-looking the ‘motorway' and dropped a huge boulder into the cab of one of our passing vehicles, badly injuring my two friends and they were CASEVAC'd home.  This was our introduction to the friendly deserving locals; every work trip out, we were attacked by locals whose intent was to maim or kill us. Stones, rocks and fire were all used against us; we learnt very quickly when we went out, that we had to go out fully equipped and armed for trouble, all of our vehicle windows were covered in Mesh for protection.  Sat in the vehicle all kitted out for war in a supposedly friendly country; it could have passed for a normal day patrolling the bad lands of Ulster. The locals, their faces distorted by anger and rage,  whipping up violence wherever we stopped, provoking, spoiling for a fight, damaging anything, everything to do with NATO. The same NATO that stands for peace, democracy and civilization in the Western World for over 40 years attacked because it had the audacity to stop Slavs ethnically cleansing a neighbor.

There were signs, graffiti and posters all over the place directing their Slavic bile at NATO troops; most of it was racist, bigoted and xenophobic and written in English, just in case we didn't get their message.  The authors laudably claim that NATO is in a state of ‘Obsolete Existence' wallowing in their own mire unless this international giant takes on a deserving FYR of Macedonia to their books then everything will be fine as Macedonia can be used like Eastern Europe as a bulwark against Russia, although I'm not exactly sure what Macedonia's bulwark is against? The dreaded Turk? oh wait no they're already a member, So who?

What benefits are there for NATO, for Europe come to that, when the majority of the FYROM's Slav population detests NATO for kicking the fellow Slavic Serbs out and bringing the ethnic Albanians power in neighboring Kosovo? I can't help but feel this is duplicitous with their indignation at being ignored by NATO, insisting what good Europeans they are when at the same time treating NATO soldiers so badly, I saw the way that FYROM subjects their ethnic Albanian minority as third class citizens, treating them with such disdain and disrespect pretending that they aren't actually Macedonian at all.

What they really need is a reality check and recognize that whilst they treat their own minorities and NATO troops so poorly its advancement into the international arena of NATO will be a long time coming and by extension that of the EU.  All I see is a country using NATO to get to the Golden Goose of the EU.  A stipulation of accession to NATO is that the accession country must be Democratic and at peace with itself and its neighbors; the FYR of Macedonia is none of these.  

If FYROM wants NATO membership, then it must earn it and it must stop acting and thinking it is the victim all the time, FYROM is only reaping what it sowed when it allowed their Slavic people to wage a campaign of hatred against NATO troops who were only helping the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.  They don't deserve membership of NATO until they sort out their own internal problems and only then confront Greece's and Bulgaria's intransigence.  FYROM doesn't need a MAP from 1999 to see that....

The author is an Intelligence Consultant within a joint UK/US Intelligence Company; he has completed a 22 year service in the Intelligence Corps where he worked within UK and US Military SIGINT, with worldwide operational experience.  He is a qualified English law graduate and a Russian and French Linguist.

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Tags: | FYROM | Balkans | Greece | Macedonia | NATO enlargement |
 
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Unregistered User

November 29, 2012

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This opinion is based on ignorance and personal hatred. Please educate yourself about recent (after 1999) changes in the Balkans story and about recent support for NATO in Republic of Macedonia.

Also try to differentiate the acts of some criminals (your story about locals hate to NATO) and the acts of the official authorities (such as the veto from Greece which the International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that violated the arrangement between the two countries).

Nothing of your arguments was the reason that prevented Republic of Macedonia joining in NATO. The only reason was Greece's veto, so your "arguments" are redundant.
 
Unregistered User

November 29, 2012

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Sadly, Stewart obviously did not care to take the time to get to know the Macedonian people. I am actually surprised at how full of hate and ignorance he is. I lived in Macedonia for 7 years - I have worked extensively in Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro as well. Since I departed Macedonia in 2003, I have been very involved with them in numerous ways, including spending long periods of time there since 2003 working on various projects. The way Stewart describe the people - well, let's just say that he is not a credible individual. We will let him continue to wallow in his ignorance.
 
Member deleted

November 29, 2012

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I have to disagree with EUS, since, you cannot in any logical way accuse someone for "ignorance" or tell him to "educate himself" when hir writings about the issue is based on PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. I guess you imply that Mr. Rowles imagined all this hostility, and it wasn't real. Let me tell you, as an inhabitant of Northern Greece, Province of Macedonia, that I have a rally great number of people I know, even family members, that when visited Skopje of any other FYROM city by car, and parked there in order to go for some work or a walk, got back and found out that their cars were broken and destroyed, with hate messages written on them against Greece. On the other hand, (and is something I can swear about) I have not seen, heard or read about Greeks destroying and writing hate messages on a car with FYROMian plates.

On the political/diplomatic affairs now: FYROM is not a stable country. The so-called Albanian "minority" is not a minority at all, since it counts over 30% of the population. Although, FYROM state does not treat them equally to the Slavomacedonian "majority". Moreover, Greece has been far from intransigent (this and the term "Macedonia" as a state, is the only parts of the article I disagree), without getting any response to their efforts for a solution to the name dispute (FYROM has the same positions about the name of the state since the early 90s). Issues with Bulgaria are also becoming ridiculous from the side of FYROM, proving that the propaganda is coming from Skopje, not from Ethnic Albanians, Greeks and Bulgarians. Are they all wrong???

The author is right. FYROM is not just not in the position to enter the Alliance, but may become dangerous for its stability, due to its internal issues, and its foreign policy.

(I have submitted a detailed article of mine and I hope you will all be able to read it the next weeks)
 
Unregistered User

November 29, 2012

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Jahja Esli & Boneva Boyka, who argue for NATO membership for Macedonia, are correct that “fearing another regional conflict imported into the Alliance, NATO remains vague on any commitment to accession.”
http://www.atlantic-community.org/index/articles/view/Macedonia_Des...

Though, officially NATO is committed to invite FYROM to negotiations once in the name issue is resolved. Those negotiations will take a long time, because FYROM just isn’t ready yet.

While Stewart Rowles criticism is based on what he experienced more than ten years ago, many of the ethnic problems that he describes still exist today.

Quotes from the latest Freedom House report:
“Internally, poor relations between the Macedonian Slav majority and the ethnic Albanian minority have raised doubts about the country’s long-term viability.”

In February, the predominantly Muslim Albanians protested construction of a church-shaped museum in Skopje’s Kale Fortress, located in an Albanian neighborhood. Hard-line Islamists reportedly control several mosques with financing from Middle Eastern countries.

Macedonia’s ethnic Albanians also complain of discrimination. The Skopje 2014 project has heightened interethnic tensions, with minority groups saying the plans ignore their heritage. The Kale Fortress dispute culminated with an interethnic clash between ethnic Macedonians and Albanians.”
http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2012/macedonia


From the US State Department:
“The most important human rights problem was the government’s failure to fully respect the rule of law, which was reflected in its interference in the judiciary and the media, selective prosecution of political opponents of the country’s leaders, and significant levels of government corruption and police impunity. Tensions between the ethnic Albanian and Macedonian communities, as well as societal discrimination against Roma and other ethnic and religious minorities, constituted another area of human rights concern.
Other significant human rights problems reported during the year included poor conditions and overcrowding in some of the country’s prisons, domestic violence, and some discrimination against women and persons with disabilities.”
http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/186589.pdf

NATO has and will keep its promise to open negotiations with Macedonia once the name issue has been resolved.

Macedonia however has to fix the above mentioned problems, if it wants these negotiations to lead to membership.
 
Unregistered User

November 29, 2012

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Answer to the comment from Giorgos K. Dimitriadis

First, opinion based on personal experience from 13 years ago is sufficient reason to ask for better understanding of the whole situation.

Second, the event he witnessed and experienced was act of criminals who were condemned for their action. Also in the same year NATO trucks were involved in one accident in which kid was killed, and other accident when the truck was driving in the wrong lane and killed Macedonian minister from the government.
Will I be right to condemn whole NATO structure for those incidents?

Third, yes, there are plenty occasions when cars were broken and destroyed and tourists from Republic of Macedonia were tortured in Greece.

The ethnic Albanians and the minorities are treated equally as the ethic Macedonians in Republic of Macedonia, which is example for many countries in Europe, especially in Greece, where minorities are constantly being discriminated.

And finally, the author is not right, because his "arguments" were not the reasons that Republic of Macedonia wasn't accepted in NATO, the reason was the veto from Greece, which was violation of the agreement between Greece and Republic of Macedonia from 1995.
 
Member deleted

November 29, 2012

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@EUS

Although I am sure that you are not able to prove me why you are so sure that the people who caused these events in Mr. Rowles article, I am glad that you condemn these actions.

I also am glad that you recognize the large scale of vandalism towards Greek tourist vehicles in FYROM, when the opposite doesn't happen.

However, I have to tell you that it is proved that the FYROM state doesn't treat Albanian minorities the same, since in areas where Albanians are majority there are almost no funds for any kind of social needs (schools, hospitals, roads etc). You mentioned the discrimination in Greece and I have to tell you among others, (from my PERSONAL working experience in the health sector) that even recently entered Greece Albanians and other immigrants, most times without any insurance and any payments to the Greek state, get hospital care, even high cost (of thousand of euros) surgeries absolutely free, and similar situation exists in the education section. So I cannot see the discrimination you mention.

Please, do not mention the Interim Accord (as the agreement that you mentioned is called) to me saying that Greece violated it, because the part that constantly violated it was FYROM. Although there was a huge political and especially economic aid from Greece to FYROM through the Interim Accord, like the free use of Thessaloniki port and the development funds of millions of Euros, FYROM was the one who was just kept on violating the Accord.

There must be an end to this policy of promoting the FYROM state as a victim by its politicians, help its own people, and do not spend money trying to create a fake background.
 
jerry   larson

November 29, 2012

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Stewart Rowles, i couldn't agree with you more. I have seen myself all their hatred for NATO and the EU. Joining NATO could be fatal
 
Unregistered User

November 29, 2012

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Answer to Member deleted

Your opinions and my opinions are biased, so the only way we can discuss is with facts.

You are denying that there is vandalism by Greek citizens to visitors from Republic of Macedonia, but you are wrong, there are numerous cases when cars were damaged, or worse, people were attacked in Greece.

Ethnic Albanians in Republic of Macedonia are treated the same as the ethnic Macedonians. That is process that is developing. You are uninformed if you claim the opposite.

About the agreement, the topic was about NATO and reasons why Republic of Macedonia is not and should not be part of it. We both know that the only reason is the veto from Greece which the International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that violated the arrangement between the two countries.
The same court also ruled that Republic of Macedonia didn't violated the same agreement. That are the official facts.
 
Joerg  Wolf

November 29, 2012

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@ "EUS"

Thank you for your comments.

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Elizabeth  Posto

November 30, 2012

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The author, Stewart Rowles, HAD to be paid (under-the-table) so he could write such an article full of hater, anger, ignorance... Was he behind with his mortgage payment or anything??
Tags: | Macedonia | NATO |
 
Member deleted

November 30, 2012

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Well I wasn’t going to reply to these comments but as I’ve been asked by a couple of concerned people I shall make a few replies. Ive just checked all the people who have replied; thank you for your input some of it is quite constructive, but most of it quite laughable @ Elizabeth Posto

@EUS You are missing a few extra letters in your troll laden spineless pseudonym; EUSSR

@Joerg W you really need to sort this out; if people are going to write articles for your community using their real identities then you should at least protect them better from trolls by insisting that all comments are from registered people, it’s only fair.

Ok there are two main cruxes of arguments aimed at me here firstly my opinion is based on ignorance and personal hatred. Unfortunately this is just the usual throwaway comments trolls use when someone has an opinion so radically different than their own small world view. I have faced some nasty people in my time, Taliban (Afghanistan), West Side Boys (Sierra Leone) and yes Serbian and Albanian Militia both ethnic cleansing their neighbours. But you expect that when you face your enemy what you don’t expect is such animosity from your supposed friends that’s what made FYROM so different for me, it wasn’t local criminals that targeted us, to suggest otherwise is a sad joke. This is an Opinion based on my experience Gents I don’t pretend to be anything other than a NATO soldier with his boots on the ground which leads to the second point; this was all so long ago things have changed so much since then; please read this which came up on twitter only last week:

http://www.groundreport.com/Politics/INA-The-Albanians-in-Macedonia...

It’s not definitive proof by any means just one source amongst many, but to imply that things are all well for integration into NATO and that things are vastly improved since NATO was there is a false line to take. And for those of you who didn’t read the beginning of my article it was in reply to the Atlantic Community asking me what hatred I had come across in FYROM when I served there. I didn’t just randomly write this article ten years after serving there!
Tags: | Macedonia | NATO enlargement |
 
Unregistered User

November 30, 2012

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NATO should reconsider the validity of a lot of its members, prior to accepting new ones. Before accepting or rejecting FYROM, it would need to ban Turkey or the States and should focus on Israeli brutalities.

Nowadays, NATO is only a legitimate way to address the White House and accepting FYROM is just a political act that would help the US agenda in the region.

I don't believe that anybody would want that, especially with a country that has problems with all of its neighbors.
Tags: | FYROM NATO Greece |
 
Joerg  Wolf

November 30, 2012

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@ Stewart

We are working on a new software for atlantic-community.org to be launched early next year. Then only registered members can comment.
 
Unregistered User

November 30, 2012

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@Stewart

Good neighborly relations are a two-way street. It is so obvious that Macedonia's neighbors have problems with its constitutional name, nation, language, and you guys just cannot expect only Macedonia to strive for good neighborly relations. Why don't you urge Bulgaria and Greece to show some good will and to support their neighbor -Macedonia - to start the accession talks with the EU? Even to urge Greece to give consent and to agree Macedonia to join NATO, even under the provisional name, as stipulated in the Interim Accord?

I would say freely that the neighbors have problems with Macedonia, not vice versa. But Macedonia wants these open questions to be resolved like no other neighbor wants, so the country can join NATO and EU. It is out of Macedonia's and all its neighbors (read Greece, Bulgaria) for these issues to be resolved as soon as possible.

As for the Interim Accord, Stewart, the International Court of Justice in Hague ruled that Greece VIOLATED the Interim Accord by preventing Macedonia at the Bucharest NATO Summit to become a NATO member. How can you compete with that? How can you personally deny these facts? It just shows your ignorance about the topic. So your argument that Macedonia has violated the Interim Accord is INVALID.


@ Willam Henry: NATO to ban the United States? Say again? :)
 
Member deleted

November 30, 2012

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@Bojan

Hello there thank you for your comments, but I'm afraid you've missed the point of my article somewhat. I was not talking about the Interim Accord; who is right or who is wrong, I'm not sure where you got that from; what I said was to join NATO as an accession member the criteria stipulates that it has to be democratic, at peace with itself and its neighbours....Macedonia has too many internal problems let alone external problems for NATO accession. Macedonia and her allies do tend to focus an awful lot on Greece's underhand behaviour and they do have a point I'm not denying that and have never said anything to dispel that. I'm trying to elucidate that their argument based on this fact is just not going to hold in the outside world when everyone knows about their internal problems and the way they just continue to ignore the pink elephant in the room.

Please don't bang on about my ignorance when Ive served in Macedonia with NATO and seen how the disparate communities live with each other and how they react to NATO come to that; and as this article is meant to be about Macedonia joining NATO I don't think it should be forgotten how FYROM treated NATO soldiers last time they were guests in Macedonia. I haven't denied the Interim Accord or Greece's intransigent behaviour. Please read my article carefully before throwing completely unfounded allegations at me.

Talking of getting the wrong end of the stick....Israel? Where did that come from? @ William Henry
Tags: | Macedonia | NATO enlargement |
 
Unregistered User

November 30, 2012

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@Steward, you mentioned that Macedonia has lots of problems with its neighbors. When it comes to Greece, the Court ruled that the some of the provisions of that document regulating the relations between the 2 countries were violated by Greece. Let me remind you that Greece also accused Macedonia for breaching the Interim Accord, and the Court determined that Macedonia DID NOT breached the Interim Accord. So who needs to reexamine their good neighborly relations here in this case?

Okay, according to you, what is it that you want Macedonia to do in this case with Greece? Please enlighten us and tell us how can Macedonia join NATO and EU? Change the name? Change its identity and language on a piece of paper deliberately just so we can please some confused Greek and European bureaucrats in Brussels?

When it comes to NATO and how much this people wants to join NATO, 80 to 90% percent of the Macedonian people WANT to join NATO, including EU. So how come you take just a single event that happened to you and make a conclusion that Macedonia and Macedonian people do not want NATO? Again, your conclusion is invalid. Please take into consideration the will of the majority of the people and the aspirations of the Government(s) of the Republic of Macedonia regarding their membership in NATO and EU.

Plus, if you claim that Macedonia does not fulfill the criteria to join NATO, then why was Macedonia invited to join NATO in Bucharest in 2008 in the first place? Think again.

The European parliament has adopted 4 positive reports about Macedonia's progress to start the accession talks with EU. Greece is stubborn and blocks Macedonia, despite the decision by the European Parliament.

Finally, let me remind you how Greece joined the European Union. Greece, at the time, did not fulfill the criteria to join EU, but Greece was admitted to the EU, on a political decision basis.

I can just conclude that your statements are being delivered with anger and frustration from something that happened to you in Macedonia. They are not objective and realistic. Sorry Stewart.
 
Member deleted

November 30, 2012

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@Bojan

Why are you accusing me of not being objective? Bojan Seriously? This is an Op-Ed…You know? A point of view? An opinion? Hence subjective! Honestly, this is the last time I’m going to reply to you it’s like arguing with a person who is only interested in their own opinion. My name is Stewart not Steward …Why do you keep going on about the Interim Accord when Ive told you this article is nothing to do with it. I did not say Macedonia had lots of problems with its neighbours….anywhere so the rest of your argument is you arguing with yourself. I said ‘Macedonia has too many internal problems let alone external problems for NATO accession’

My article is nothing to do with perceived Greek Machiavellian politics just you going off on one again about the perfidious Greeks.

Again read my article it wasn’t one solitary event that happened to me but multiple separate attacks against NATO soldiers and vehicles throughout our time in FYROM like it says in my article. There’s no hatred from me, I’ve gone up against far worse than the Macedonians trust me.

As for the will of the FYROM majority, I felt it many times smashing against my vehicle, thank you very much.

This article is a subjective opinion Ladies/Gents, based on personal experience, nothing more nothing less.
Tags: | Macedonia | NATO enlargement |
 
Unregistered User

November 30, 2012

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First of all, I did not want to misspell your name. Sorry for that. It was unintentional. As you can see at the end of my message, I spelled your name correctly.

Second, the title of your article says that Macedonia does not deserve to be a NATO member, due to some isolated incidents that happened to you in the past, done by some individuals. So are you going to punish the Macedonian people and the Macedonian national aspirations by adopting such a notorious conclusion - that Macedonia does not deserve NATO membership, just because of some actions done by some individuals? I read the article carefully, and I strongly condemn those actions made against the NATO soldiers.


I guess everyone is entitled to give their opinion on some issues, including you, even though sometimes those views do not reflect the real state of affairs.

Kind regards,


Bojan
Tags: | Macedonia | NATO | EU |
 
Ljupco  Popadinovski

December 2, 2012

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Stewart, for one, you should immediately delete "Balkans" as your area of expertise. You are not objective and you are full of hatred. The Macedonian Army has proven in numerous occasions that it deserves it place in NATO. And what others consider as a virtue you don't even mention. Macedonia wants to join NATO during war. What you have no idea is that even if its not a member country, professionals from Macedonia are working with their NATO colleagues in Libya and other hotspots. Why? Because those people that you say hate NATO know that their place is in Europe.

And your argument about the EU golden goose is irrelevant and invalid, because the goose is not golden anymore. But we would still wanna join EU for the previous mentioned reason, we know our place is in Europe.

So next time please travel and read more before you make such terrible and distorted lies.
Tags: | Macedonia |
 
Unregistered User

December 2, 2012

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"Member deleted" is the author of this "op-ed" based on fiction? Good for him. Now I kindly ask the editor to delete the "op-ed" too... It's just too fabricated so even the author cannot support it?
Tags: | Macedonia |
 
Unregistered User

December 8, 2012

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"All I see is a country using NATO to get to the Golden Goose of the EU."
What are you talking about?
Golden Goose?
Let say that on side with Macedonian NATO mission contribution and help Nato received from it.
Everything is passing away and going to it's end.
There is no more Goose,but in propaganda made mythology of EU living paradise.
Your created PIGS living stile proved it.Bulgarians to(i)let situation approved..
As friend of mine Daniel use to wrote one upon a time
Creature named EU has , it's feet part of iron and part of clay. (Daniel 2:33.)
Germany and France will hold no more .
At this Earth Mother one thing lives for ever
Macedonia
Macedonia Timeless
Goce Janevski
aka
Homer MakeDonski 44

Declaring himself as not citizen of EU
 
Olga  Papadopoulou

January 9, 2013

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And the story continues...
Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met on Wednesday, 9 January 2013, with the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy Matthew Nimetz, who is carrying out a visit to Athens and Skopje within the framework of the UN negotiation process for the resolution of the name issue. Nimetz, who will travel on to Skopje, is said to be buoyed by a European Council decision last month concluding that the name dispute should be resolved before Skopje can start EU accession talks. Specifically, EU leaders rejected Skopje’s request to be given a date for the start of membership talks with the bloc.
 
Olga  Papadopoulou

January 11, 2013

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Latest news from Secretary General’s Personal Envoy Matthew Nimetz from his two visits in Athens and Skopje.
Matthew Nimetz stated that there are serious and constructive mood, both in Athens and Skopje, and he will try further to intensify the negotiating process.

Additionally he said that in his meetings in Skopje discussed some ideas and thoughts on finding a solution to the name issue, without referring specifically to them.
"With the issue of naming deal since 1994 and I can not say that this is completely new ideas. Things evolve, and I think there is always potential for creation, to have a positive conclusion. I presented some ideas and the goal is to find a solution that will satisfy both the governments and people of the two countries," he said.
Finally he asked if after 20 years sees chances for finding a solution to the name issue, Mr. Nimetz said one word: "Yes."
 

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