NEWS

Seven point proposal on the table for FYROM name talks

VASSILIS NEDOS

TAGS: Diplomacy

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reportedly received a proposal last week for an agreement in the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) that reliable sources say is comprehensive.

The proposal reportedly includes the seven points Greece and FYROM are currently negotiating, as well as Skopje’s course to membership in international organizations. The same sources said that the proposal will either be accepted in its entirety or scrapped.

FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said last week that convergence had been achieved on three of the seven points the two countries are currently negotiating.

These points include FYROM’s name and its uses, its language as well as its national identity.

Skopje has repeatedly stated that its identity and language are “non-negotiable,” as confirmed in recent comments made by Zaev, who said that a solution must safeguard the national identity and dignity of both sides.

For his part, FYROM President Gjorge Ivanov said earlier in the month that the national identity of the “Macedonian” people and the dignity of the “Macedonian” language must be respected.

Both sides appear to be in agreement over the time frame of talks, aiming for an initial deal by the end of March or mid-April at the latest.

Zaev said last week that all parties involved in the negotiations are keen to reach a solution within this time frame.

Zaev said he believed his Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, “genuinely wants to find a solution,” adding that Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias “is also making an effort.”

“I have the same feeling that guided me from the beginning, namely that a solution is possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Saturday workers removed the letters of the sign reading ‘Alexander the Great Airport’ on the front of the airport building near Skopje, after FYROM decided to rename it Skopje International Airport. The initiative is part of a series of gestures by Skopje to show that it has no irredentist claims on Greece.

To this end, leaders from the neighboring country embarked on a tour of EU capitals to showcase these efforts.

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