Greek-FYROM name talks rescheduled for mid-December

Greek-FYROM name talks rescheduled for mid-December

Greece and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia representatives will meet in Brussels on December 11-12 to start talks on the name issue and discuss ways to solve this pending issue, FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told reporters on Friday.

The talks were initially set for end-November. UN envoy Matthew Nimetz, however, decided to reschedule the meeting with two countries' representatives for next month.

Macedonia is the name of a northern province in Greece and Athens is worried that the use of the same name by the neighboring state could lead to territorial claims.

Both FYROM and Greece have voiced their will and commitment to engage in talks and find a solution. The Skopje government expressed confidence that the talks on name issue, mediated by Nimetz, would produce a way out to the long-standing name dispute.

Zaev told reporters late on Thursday, after meeting the visiting Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, that time had come for FYROM and Greece to find a solution to the name contest. Zaev also expressed confidence that the solution on this issue would be achieved within a year.

Efforts for a solution have intensified in recent months with the FYROM government declaring it is to build good neighborly relations and solve issues that hamper its European Union integration.

European Union ambassador to Skopje Samuel Zbogar told reporters here on Friday that the EU was optimistic over the FYROM government's efforts regarding the name issue.

"We share optimism that in general things are going well; reforms that we are expecting to see in the country are being implemented and we encourage the government to continue," Zbogar told reporters.