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UN Envoy On Macedonia-Greece Dispute Expects No Breakthrough Soon

UN special envoy Matthew Nimetz speaks to the press in Skopje on July 3.
UN special envoy Matthew Nimetz speaks to the press in Skopje on July 3.

SKOPJE -- A United Nations envoy appointed to help Macedonia and Greece resolve their long-running dispute over the name of the former Yugoslav republic has said that he does not expect any dramatic breakthrough on the issue during the coming months.

UN special representative Matthew Nimetz made the remarks in Skopje on July 3 after meeting with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov.

Nimetz, a personal envoy of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said Skopje and Athens must find ways to intensify efforts to resolve their dispute.

But he said now did not appear to be the right time for concrete new proposals.

"We have a new government here and a new context in the region," Nimetz said.

Nimetz, who last visited Macedonia in 2014, said Zaev and Dimitrov showed a serious interest and determination to deal with the issue.

Greece objects to Skopje's use of the name Macedonia, saying it implies irredentist and territorial ambitions on the part of Skopje.

Greece's objections have complicated Skopje's aspirations to join NATO and the European Union.

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