“We believe in an honorable compromise and… this means that you can’t have everything you want,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Friday following talks in Skopje with his counterpart, Nikola Dimitrov, on ongoing negotiations over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Athens and Skopje appear to have achieved some convergence in regards to the Balkan country’s name since the restart of talks under United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz in December, but significant differences remain, as was apparent by the tone adopted by the two officials on Friday.
The main sticking point of the negotiations between the two sides appears to be continued Greek demands for changes to clauses of FYROM’s constitution that are seen as expressing irredentist aspirations.
“We have to take into consideration that the high courts of certain European countries have decided that the national constitution overrides European treaties,” Kotzias said.
There also appears to be some resistance from Skopje to a Greek proposal for the name GornjaMacedonia, which would remain as one word and untranslated.
“I believe that if we can take the steps, and today we have taken steps, we will solve the problems before us,” Kotzias said after the talks, in which the two sides discussed a set of proposals to end the quarter-century dispute. “These problems were not created by Nikola and I.”
Dimitrov confirmed that the talks covered “all the important points” and said that negotiations are a “very sensitive balancing act.”
“A small step can tip the scales towards a solution,” the FYROM foreign minister said. “We are trying to build trust, as prejudices remain,” he said
On a more positive note, Dimitrov said that “there is a genuine desire for a solution of the issue in a manner that will not dismiss anyone.”