New round of UN-hosted negotiations on Macedonia's name

ATHENS, Jun 13, 2000 -- (AFP) A new round of UN-hosted talks on Macedonia's name, a constant bone of contention between Athens and Skopje, was to open in New York Tuesday, a spokesman for the Greek foreign ministry said.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and special mediator Matthew Nimetz will attempt to help the two countries reach an acceptable agreement.

Despite much improved economic relations, Greece only recognizes Macedonia under the title of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or the acronym FYROM, under which the country joined the United Nations.

Athens says the word Macedonia alone, which is also the name for a Greek province, belongs to Hellenic historic patrimony.

At the last round of name negotiations in Salonika, northern Greece, in May, a member of the Macedonian delegation told AFP "we have made good progress and we are close to an agreement."

The name "Republic of Macedonia-Skopje" offered a possible solution, but the mediator also had a series of other propositions and solutions, a source close to the US envoy in Salonika said at the time.

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