UN says issues 'narrowed' over Greece-Macedonia name dispute

The U.N. mediator trying to resolve a 25-year-old dispute between Greece and Macedonia over the former Yugoslav republic's name says the issues "have been narrowed" and both sides are determined to reach an agreement.

Matthew Nimetz told reporters Friday that talks "have been intensified considerably" after two days of meetings with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Macedonia Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov. He said the ministers are heading to Brussels and will continue their dialogue there.

Greeks maintain their northern neighbor's name implies a territorial claim to Greece's adjoining province of Macedonia. Officially called the Republic of Macedonia when it gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Greece has blocked the country's bid to join NATO because of the dispute.

Nimetz said both countries recognize "the importance of reaching an agreement."