It is too early to claim that negotiations between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on the decades-old name dispute have ended, Alternate Defense Minister Fotis Kouvelis said on Friday, commenting on news that talks between Athens and Skopje are stalling.
“One would be acting in undue haste if one announced the end of these talks and negotiations,” the minister said during a swearing-in ceremony for new Air Force recruits in Tripoli.
“Our country wants to have a solution and the points it has set as necessary conditions guarantee a good result, if they are accepted by the neighboring country,” he added.
A Greek government official said earlier on Friday that the likelihood of a deal moved further away as Skopje seemed “not ready” to respond to the proposals discussed between the foreign ministers of the two countries in Brussels.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said that he and his FYROM counterpart Nikola Dimitrov had done everything in their power to pave the way for a breakthrough in the talks.
He said technical teams were handling the legal details of a deal and the finished document would be reviewed by the respective Prime Ministers, Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev.
According to sources close to the talks, the name Republic of Northern Macedonia (Severna Makedonija) appeared to be the likeliest choice to which Greece and FYROM would agree on.
Another two names, of the original five proposals made by United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz, remain on the table, sources said. But Northern Macedonia had been expected to prevail.