The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) wants to find a way to break the 26-year deadlock with Greece over its official name, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska told the Guardian on Friday.
“The next year is crucial. We need to show that there are developments – people do not expect everything to be solved tomorrow – but they expect progress because we have been stuck for 10 years, Sekerinska said, just a few days after talks restarted from a three-year hiatus between Greece and FYROM in Brussels early this week, under United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz.
“What happens will create either inspiration or frustration right across the Balkans,” she said.
Sekerinska suggested that Athens's concern that FYROM has irredentist ambitions by calling itself after the northern Greek region of Macedonia are “laughable.”
“No one in Macedonia has territorial pretensions, literally no one. It is laughable,” she told the Guardian. “The only time when we might occupy Greece is when we pour to the Greek beaches as tourists.”
The new government is Skopje appears more eager than its predecessor to break the deadlock with Athens, which would pave the way for the small Balkan country of roughly 2 million people to join NATO and the European Union.