Gov’t brushes off Albanian media rumors of FYROM talks breakthrough


“I refuse to engage in speculation over the name talks,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told a press briefing on Tuesday when asked to respond to reports in Albanian media that Athens had reached an agreement on the long-standing name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

“A window of opportunity has presented itself,” Tzanakopoulos said, referring to fresh efforts by United National special mediator Matthew Nimetz to rekindle talks over the disputed name of FYROM after a change of government in Skopje.

“We are not interested in rife speculation regarding the name talks, but to proceed with negotiations in a serious manner so that we can find a solution within the next few months to a problem that has been dogging us for 25 years,” he added, in reference to rumors earlier in the day that Athens and Skopje had agreed on the name “Republic of New Macedonia.”

Tzanakopoulos also sought to play down an apparent rift within the government regarding its position on the name talks, after senior officials of the junior coalition partner, Independent Greeks, ruled out the possibility of backing a proposal that contains the word “Macedonia.”