FYROM has four options to resolve name dispute with Greece, Zaev says

TAGS: Diplomacy, Interview

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has put forward four options to settle the decades-long dispute with Greece over its name, the country’s Prime Minister said on Tuesday.

FYROM and its larger southern neighbor Greece have agreed to step up negotiations this year to resolve the disagreement which has frustrated Skopje’s long-held ambitions to join NATO and the European Union.

Athens, which like all members of both organizations has a veto over admissions, objects to the former Yugoslav republic’s use of the name "Macedonia," arguing that it, along with articles in Skopje’s constitution, could imply territorial claims over its own northern region of the same name.

FYROM hopes the issue can be resolved in time for an EU meeting in June and a NATO summit in July, and is proposing a geographical "qualifier" to ensure there is clear differentiation in the two names.

"The suggestions are Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of Upper Macedonia, Republic of Vardar Macedonia and Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)," Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told Reuters following a Western Balkans summit held in London.

Asked whether Greece would be happy with one of these options he added: "Yes... They have more preferred options and some not so preferred options [in terms of the name]."

He said the question that remained was whether there was "a real need" to change FYROM’s constitution which is something Greece had also asked for in recent months. [Reuters]