JULY 25 2012 20:04h
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirmed on Wednesday he was prepared to make a personal commitment to accelerate the process of finding a solution to Macedonia's long-standing name dispute with neighbour Greece, AFP reported.
Macedonia and Greece have been locked in a name dispute since the former Yugoslav republic gained independence in 1991. Athens has blocked Macedonia's membership of NATO, arguing that the name Macedonia implies a territorial claim over its over northern region of that name - a claim rejected in Skopje.
More than 130 nations recognise the country as Macedonia, but it is still listed at the U.N. under its provisional name, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
We will invest maximum efforts in talks with Greek authorities. Immediately after the visit, I will send my special envoy Matthew Nimetz to Greece in order to brief authorities over the talks held here. I will personally try to contact Prime Minister Samaras in order to help in the acceleration of the process. It is unfortunate that two neighboring countries have not managed to fully use their potentials for regional cooperation, reconciliation and development. The UN will do everything in their power to facilitate the process. This is a long-standing problem. We are aware of the International Court of Justice ruling and will take into account all aspects, said Ban Ki-moon told reporters after his meeting with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov at the lakeside resort of Ohrid.
Later today, the UN chief is scheduled to travel to Bosnia and herztegovina, the final destination on his tour of the former Yugoslav countries. (Hina)