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Monday, December 11, 2017, 

Difernews: Macedonia to join NATO next July, Kotzias and SYRIZA hold the key

Difernews: Macedonia to join NATO next July, Kotzias and SYRIZA hold the key

Athens, 8 November 2017 (MIA) - Greek website "Difernews" has published a text titled "FyRoM to join NATO on 11-12 July 2018, name issue in the hands of Kotzias and SYRIZA", claiming there is an agenda for the problem's settlement.

Citing confidential diplomatic sources, the text says Macedonia will first remove statues and "completely destroy project Skopje 2014" in order to join NATO.

"The name issue enters its final stage, with a definitive solution to help the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia join the Alliance at the NATO summit in Brussels on July 11-12", says "Difernews" and adds that the accession will symbolically occur on the 10. anniversary from the Greek veto to Macedonia's NATO accession in Bucharest.

According to the portal, visible progress is expected by February 2018, followed by the European Commission Progress Report in April, which will urge for a date over the beginning of Macedonia's EU accession talks.

Daily "Kathimerini" reported a few days ago that Greece's Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias wants to settle the name dispute with Macedonia in the first half of 2018, but his hopes might prove to be too ambitious.

Laying out the intentions of the Greek government to solve the row, Kotzias said name negotiations should be completed by mid-2018. “If it’s not, there will be major difficulties. If it gets resolved, it will then be a matter of three to four months of bureaucracy at the United Nations," he stated and added that the process should be wrapped by the end of 2018, because both Macedonia and Greece will hold elections in 2019.

According to "Difernews", Washington wants to see the issue closed. Well-informed sources claim that Hoyt Brian Yee, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, has said that Skopje, enhancement of the Belgrade-Prishtina dialogue and the Bosnia-Herzegovina Constitution are the issues to be tackled in the coming six months.

The portal claims that Greek FM Kotzias and Macedonian counterpart Nikola Dimitrov would use "behind-the-scene contacts to overcome obstacles" and the existence of a "process of two parallel paths".

The first path, encompassing the mandate of mediator Matthew Nimetz, will involve discussions over the name and the range of its use. Experienced observers believe that a change of Macedonia's constitutional name would be a barrier too high to overcome, and more "creative solutions" would be probably discussed.

The second path refers to derivative adjectives, abbreviations and trade names. The derivative adjectives include the identity and the language, the elements that represent, as the portal says, the core of "Macedonism" and Skopje's irredentism.

"A solution that includes Slavic terms for the identity and language might offer a way out, although this is the most sensitive issue", concludes "Difernews". ik/12:33

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