“A United Nations negotiator leading talks to end a decades-old dispute over Macedonia’s name says progress is being made between Greek and Macedonian officials but difficult issues remain.

UN envoy Matthew Nimetz, who helped put together a deal in 1995 that enabled the Balkan state to join the UN under the temporary designation ‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,’ said on March 30 that talks to end the disagreement will continue in the coming months.

‘There are still difficult questions that need to be addressed, but in my opinion and long experience, there is a very positive feeling,’ Nimetz said after a meeting in Vienna with the foreign ministers of both countries.

‘Both ministers are focused on long-term relations, stability in the region, the importance of good relations between the two countries, and I hope that we will continue to work with this positive approach,’ he added.” (RFE/RL)

“After yesterday’s strong warnings from Russia’s ambassador to Macedonia, Oleg Shchebak, regarding its intention to become a NATO member, prime minister Zoran Zaev said today that the country wants to join NATO for peace in the world and respect for human rights.

At today’s press conference, Zaev expressed hope that the two countries will focus on building friendship, and not on quarrels.

‘We acted according to the laws and the Vienna Convention. Macedonia has strategic goals, such as membership in NATO and the EU. We do not want membership in the Alliance to attack anyone, but for world peace and respect for human rights,’ Zaev said, stressing that the government remains committed to advance relations with Russia.” (Meta)