The Prime Minister of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Nikola Gruevski, has said he would be open to changing his country’s name – the subject of an over two decades-long controversy with Greece.
In an interview with the Guardian published Wednesday, Gruevski said that he was prepared to kickstarting talks with Athens providing that any settlement would be put to a referendum in FYROM.
“We would like as soon as possible to go to dialogue with Greece to find a solution, and if we find a solution we have to go to the citizens and organize a referendum,” Gruevski told the British newspaper. “Through dialogue we have to find some solution, and after that to ask the citizens: is this right or not right?”
In an interview with Kathimerini published ahead of his visit to Athens Thursday, FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki said that “conditions are more than ripe” for there to be a positive step toward a resolution of the dispute.
Greece has disputed the name “Macedonia” – the same as Greece's northernmost province – adopted after Skopje declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Athens has said EU accession talks with Skopje should not start until the name dispute is solved.