“A United Nations mediator has expressed optimism that a solution is within reach to solve a 27-year-old dispute over the name of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.

‘I am very hopeful that this process is moving in a positive direction,’ the UN envoy dealing with the matter, Matthew Nimetz, said on January 17 following a meeting with diplomats from the two countries at UN headquarters in New York.

During the talks, the mediator presented to Macedonia’s ambassador to the United States, Vasko Naumovski, and Greece’s negotiator Adamantios Vassilakis a proposal for a compromise that will now be discussed in Skopje and Athens.

Nimetz said that he will travel to Macedonia and Greece soon to discuss the proposal, which he did not disclose.

But he said, ‘I myself don’t think it’s realistic to expect the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia not to have Macedonia in some form in its name.

‘We should know whether we can make some good, serious progress’ in the next two months, Nimetz said, adding that the issue could be solved in six months. (RFE/RL)