US State Department hawk urges Macedonia to quickly resolve name negotiations


A senior US official has urged Macedonia and Greece to “seize the moment” and resolve a decades-long dispute over the Balkan country’s name, which has prevented it from joining NATO.

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchel was in Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, on Tuesday as part of a Balkan tour. He told reporters that “there is a tremendous opportunity” for Skopje and Athens to reach a deal over the long-running spat, AP reported.

The two countries have intensified talks recently in the hope of finding a compromise to end the dispute. They have been at odds for a quarter of a century over the name Macedonia, but have pledged to resolve the dispute by the summer. Greece argues the country’s name harbors territorial claims on its own northern province of Macedonia which Athens renamed after the independence of Macedonia.