Greece eyes MoU with FYROM

Greece on Thursday sought for a breakthrough in long-strained bilateral ties with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) by proposing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two Balkan neighbors.

In a letter sent to his counterpart in Skopje, Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said a memorandum would set the framework for a final solution to the lingering name dispute between the two countries.

Athens and Skopje have been at loggerheads over the Balkan statelet's constitutional name since the former Yugoslav republic gained independence in 1991. Athens has blocked FYROM's membership in NATO because of the row, arguing that the name ?Macedonia? implies a territorial claim over its northern region of the same name.

Skopje denies the allegations.

According to the memorandum proposed by the Athens government both sides would commit to respecting each other's national sovereignty and territorial integrity; renounce any present or future territorial claims; and, finally, pledge to carry on negotiations to resolve the deadlock.

In a speech addressed to the United Nations 67th General Assembly in New York last month, Avramopoulos said Greece believed in a ?fair settlement? resulting in a name with a ?geographical qualifier? given that Macedonia is a geographical region that overlaps the territories of Greece, Bulgaria and FYROM.

?When we resolve this issue, we will be able to realize the vast potential in our relations, to our mutual benefit, and Greece will be the FYROM's staunchest ally and friend in its efforts to realize its Euroatlantic aspirations,? said the Greek foreign minister.