Athens optimistic over FYROM name talks


During a cabinet meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said it would become clear over the next few days if real progress on the decades-old name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was “feasible.”

Tsipras’s remarks appear to confirm reports there will be a push for a solution, which could even begin in January. “We have a window for a solution, to the extent that our neighbors’ shift proves to be honest,” he said.

For his part, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias told the cabinet that Greece’s stance will be the same as that held by the government in talks in 2007 and 2008 – namely in favor of a composite name with a geographic qualifier.

Kotzias slammed previous governments for the problems his government has “inherited,” noting that foreign policy in the past has been reactive rather than proactive.

The remarks by both men came a few hours after FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told Alpha TV that he was certain a mutually accepted solution will be reached.

He added that the next step will be for him and Tsipras to announce the mutually agreed name that FYROM will have.

“I won’t get into the details because I don’t want to ruin the procedure of the imminent negotiations but I am convinced that we will reach a solution in the end,” he said.