NEWS

Greece and FYROM PMs to meet over name, Tusk hopes for good news

VASSILIS NEDOS, ELENI VARVITSIOTIS

TAGS: Diplomacy, Politics

The prime ministers of Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will, according to several sources, discuss a road map over the next few days that will lead to a final deal on the decades-old name dispute.

According to reports, Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev will hold these talks in the next few days on the sidelines of the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia, which begins Thursday.

Meanwhile, Kathimerini understands that Athens and Skopje are seeking an international treaty which will secure that, down the line, FYROM will join the European Union and NATO.

However, the precondition set by Greece is that the agreement over the name will be “erga omnes” – namely, to be used both domestically and internationally. For this to happen, FYROM must revise its constitution.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told a press briefing Tuesday that there has been “significant progress but we are still far away from concluding negotiations and reaching an agreement.”

The recent developments in the United Nations-mediated talks were discussed on the phone by Tsipras and European Council President Donald Tusk Tuesday.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the EU official lauded the government’s efforts to resolve Greece’s differences with neighboring countries, which, he said, is a precondition for their accession to the EU.

The EU official expressed hope that Tsipras and Zaev will inform him of “positive developments in the negotiations.”

Although there are no expectations that the deal will be sealed in Sofia, Tusk expressed hopes for a “good outcome” by June, when the European Commission is expected to decide on whether to launch EU accession talks with FYROM.

On the sidelines of the summit, Tsipras will also meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as will Zaev.

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