Name dispute on the agenda as FYROM minister visits

Name dispute on the agenda as FYROM minister visits

A longstanding dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia about the Balkan nation’s official name is expected to top the agenda of talks between Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his visiting FYROM counterpart Nikola Poposki in Athens on Thursday along with a migration crisis that has led to FYROM tightening its border with Greece.

Poposki, who is visiting Athens after Kotzias traveled to Skopje in June, indicated in an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini that “conditions are more than ripe” for a relaunch of talks to resolve the 25-year deadlock.

Greek Foreign Ministry sources also indicated that the conditions have improved but retained a cautious stance, noting that domestic political concerns in the neighboring country have been an obstacle to progress in the past.

Comments by FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on Wednesday, rebuffing statements attributed to him by The Guardian, indicated that a breakthrough is far from imminent. According to the British newspaper, Gruevski said he would be open to changing his country’s name.

“We are ready to discuss, to open dialogue with them, and to find some solution,” Gruevski was quoted as saying by The Guardian, which said he would put any solution to a national referendum.

Shortly after the article went online, Gruevski said he had not made such statements and suggested that his comments were taken out of context.

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