Saturday, 19 October, 2019

Greece optimistic on ending 27-year name row with Macedonia

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Patty Aguilar | 24 March, 2018, 10:49

The two men are expected to give a joint press conference after their talks.

Athens is confident that the visit will prove fruitful as it presents its proposals to the other side, even though it expects significant resistance to its demand for an amendment to clauses of FYROM's constitution deemed to express irredentist aspirations.

Kotzias' visit came days after the two countries exchanged proposals on what the former Yugoslav republic's future name could be.

The Balkan country Macedonia is formally known at the United Nations as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

"We have to overcome the current difference (over the name). which is not easy", Dimitrov said. "We believe in honest agreements that will benefit both sides and where there will be no winning and losing side but a compromise. I'm certain that such approach will lead to a solution that offers sufficient number of arguments for the institutions and opposition of both countries to accept it as dignified for both Macedonia and Greece", Zaev said.

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On his part, the Greek foreign chief noted that Greece, as a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union member, had great responsibility for resolving the name issue while he highlighted the need for finding a compromise that would lead to an acceptable solution for both sides. There are no official details on the proposals, but the Greek proposal has been widely reported to be "Gorna Makedonija", which means "Upper Macedonia". Dimitrov has said a name written as one word - such as GornaMakedonija - is not "the best direction" for seeking a compromise.

Direct flights between the two capitals stopped when Skopje named the airport after the ancient warrior king, which Greece objected to as a usurpation of its history.

On March 4, about 10,000 people took to the streets of the Macedonian capital to protest a possible change to the name of the country.

Kotzias flew to Skpoje Thursday evening, becoming the first Greek official to arrive by plane in 12 years, after Macedonian authorities renamed the country's airport from "Alexander the Great" to "Skopje International Airport" in a goodwill gesture to Greece.

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