Serbian president offers to mediate in Athens – Skopje ‘Macedonia’ name dispute
Serbian president Tomislav Nikolić has repeated his offer that Serbia is prepared to mediate in the settlement of unresolved issues between Athens and Skopje, including the Macedonia name dispute and the problems between the Serbian and Macedonian Orthodox Christian churches.
Nikolić made his latest statement on the offer at a news conference in the Greek city of Thessaloniki on November 10 2012.
Athens and Skopje have been locked in a dispute about the use of the name Macedonia since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Greece regards Skopje’s use of the name Macedonia as historically inappropriate and open to abuse by Skopje in territorial claims, and this dispute has created problems in Macedonia’s EU and Nato accession bids. UN-brokered attempts at mediating the Macedonia name dispute have failed repeatedly.
Serbia, like most Eastern Orthodox churches, does not recognise the Macedonian Orthodox Church as autocephalous.
Speaking at a news conference on November 10, Nikolić, who became president of Serbia in May 2012, said, “you can imagine what it would look like if we all co-operated. This would be a supporting pillar of the Balkans, maybe of all of Europe”.
Nikolić described bilateral co-operation between Serbia and Greece as excellent, with no unresolved issues, and said that Athens unconditionally supported Belgrade on Serbia’s path to the EU.
“It is obvious that Serbia could be the bridge between the east and the west, the north and south. We have reconfirmed what Serbs and Greeks have always nurtured complete understanding and cooperation, relations which have not been disrupted by anything,” Nikolić was quoted as saying by Serbian media, Bulgarian news agency Focus said.
During a recent visit to Macedonia, Nikolić voiced readiness to mediate in settlement of problems between the Serbian and Macedonian Orthodox churches.
(Photo: Council of the European Union)