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Mitchell: We are involved in the name process, but we cannot make the decision for you

The current conditions for resolving the name dispute have improved over time, but the United States will not resolve the problem for you, said Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Wess Mitchell, at a press conference following a joint meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev .

“The United States supports Macedonia’s path to reform. Regarding the name dispute, I want to say that the United States supports the two countries in finding a mutually acceptable solution. Current conditions are better than before. I think that Macedonia has made significant steps in that direction and we are happy with the progress that has been made”, said Mitchell.

Prime Minister Zaev stressed that he informed Mitchell on the latest information regarding the talks on the name dispute, saying that it is important to build further confidence and trust between the two nations.

“In April, we expect the European Commission to give a clear recommendation for the start of negotiations, and in June, for the EU Council to make a decision regarding the start of the negotiations. Another goal for Macedonia is to become the 30th member of NATO”, said Zaev.

Asked how the agreement prepared by Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias will effect the process, Zaev stressed that the process is under the leadership of the UN and Matthew Nimetz.

“Any document coming from any party would be beneficial for the final resolution and is worth consideration. If it is not helpful, then the only thing of importance, is what comes from mediator Nimetz”, added Zaev.

When asked whether US diplomacy would be involved in the dispute settlement process if necessary, Zaev said he expects assistance from strategic friends of Macedonia, but in a principled manner.

Mitchell noted that the United States is involved in the process, but that the only lasting solution would be what the two sides achieve.

“The United States has been involved for some time and will continue to be involved. You will see us committed to the process, but the only acceptable solution is what the two sides achieve. This is not a decision that we can make for you”, said Mitchell.

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