Greece is promising the new government of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) closer ties but insists a decades-old name dispute should be resolved before it would back future membership of NATO and the European Union.
Athens has blocked membership efforts, arguing that its neighbor's name – the Balkan state calls itself Macedonia – implies a territorial threat to its own region of Macedonia.
But hopes of a resolution have been raised after Social Democrat Prime Minister Zoran Zaev formed a government two weeks ago, following months of political crisis.
On Wednesday, FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov traveled to Athens to meet Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias.
FYROM, fearing a flare up in ethnic disputes in the region, is seeking swift NATO membership.
Dimitrov described the Athens meeting as a "good start." [AP]