New page expected in Greece-Macedonia name dispute

Lloyd Doyle
January 13, 2018

Optimism is ruling in FYROM about a solution to the name dispute.

The new government of Macedonia under Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has accelerated negotiations with Greece to solve the problem.

Athens has blocked Macedonia's attempts to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and objects to its European Union membership bid because it says the name Macedonia implies a territorial claim over Greece's own northerly region of that name.

"There is a general feeling of fatigue in both countries due to this long-lasting dispute", Bujar Osmani, Macedonia's deputy prime minister, said in an interview with the Associated Press on January 11.

Under a 1995 accord, Greece has only agreed that the country be referred to internationally as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia until the dispute is resolved. He added that a solution will be reached in the first half of this year.

Ahead of the fresh round of talks which will take place on 17 January in NY, media in Skopje have reported today about the meeting between Foreign ministers Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kotzias, which is expected to push the process forward.

Recent reports also said that he would also consider the Slavic name Makedonija.

However, it is generally thought that its solution in Greece may put Athens in a hard position, due to the resistance of nationalist and rightist groups in the country.

"I also ask the government to stop dividing Greeks". Local media have also announced the stance of the Greek Orthodox Church, according to which, the name "Macedonia" is not accepted as a solution.

Greece's Foreign Minister Nikow Kotzias this week mentioned "New Macedonia" as a name Athens might accept for its northern neighbor and said that with 100 nations already recognizing the Balkan nation as Macedonia, Athens has little alternative but to compromise.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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