'Name dispute' tops agenda in UN chief's meeting with Greek Foreign Minister

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) meets with Evangelos Venizelos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

22 September 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today met with the Greek Foreign Minister to discuss United Nations-led talks between Greece and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the dispute over the latter's name.

The meeting between Mr. Ban and Evangelos Venizelos, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, was held on the sidelines of the General Assembly high-level debate which is due to begin on Tuesday.

In a readout from the meeting, Mr. Ban's spokesperson said the two officials exchanged views on prospects for resolving the “name”, including the outcomes of Matthew Nimetz's recent visit to the region.

Since 1999, Mr. Nimetz has been holding talks with the two sides and proposed compromise names in his capacity as the Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for the talks.

His efforts are in line with a UN-brokered interim accord reached in 1995 which details the differences between the two over the name of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and obliges both Athens and Skopje to continue negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General to try to reach an agreement.

During today's meeting, Mr. Ban and Mr. Venizelos also discussed the expected resumption, in the fall, of negotiations to reach a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus.

The UN has been facilitating talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leadership, with a view to the eventual establishment of a federal government with a single international personality, consisting of a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, each of equal status.

Mr. Ban and the Foreign Minister also spoke about the ongoing conflict in Syria, a topic the UN chief also discussed with a range of other leaders he met with today.


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