Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have achieved convergence on three of the seven topics being discussed in the negotiations aimed at settling the name dispute between the two countries, FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said on Wednesday.
Zaev also said that he is hopeful Athens and Skopje will soon agree on the four other issues being deliberated.
“I’m glad that essentially all open issues have been dissected,” he said according to the MIA news agency in Skopje.
“Having been launched with seven starting positions, I know now that they have been reduced to four positions, meaning three have been settled. I believe in the policy of the new government that the remaining positions will be settled soon,” Zaev stated.
Recently, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias had recently identified the seven topics that need to be addressed as: the name, its general use and use in trade, FYROM’s language, the identity of its citizens, the acronym that will apply and any abbreviation that will be used.
“Understandably, the key positions are vital, i.e. the name, the constitution – whether it is going to be changed or not, the language, and other matters that have been mentioned. It is the essence of the negotiating process itself,” added Zaev.
The FYROM premier did not clarify on which issues Skopje and Athens have reached an understanding but confirmed the two countries are working on an international treaty that will then have to be approved by their respective parliaments.
“But let’s not forget, everything that is being negotiated – at bilateral or at ministerial and prime ministerial level – is sent back to [UN envoy Matthew] Nimetz, because the process is brokered by the United Nations,” added Zaev.
His comments came after two meetings between Kotzias and his FYROM counterpart Nikola Dimitrov in Vienna, Austria, earlier this week.
The two men are expected to meet again in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Thursday.
A third meeting in Skopje, once the neighboring state has renamed its airport, currently named after Alexander the Great, is also possible.