With Greece having officially rejected “Ilindenska Makedonija” as a candidate name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, talks have reportedly continued behind the scenes in a bid to break the deadlock and resolve the decades-old dispute.
Athens said on Monday it welcomed Skopje’s acceptance of a Greek demand that any name agreed between the two countries be “erga omnes” (to be used domestically and internationally), adding however that the two sides would ideally agree on one of the names proposed by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz.
Speaking on Real FM, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that “positive steps” have been made in talks between the two sides, but “there is still a long way to go.”
For his part, FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, who is expected to announce a new cabinet on Tuesday, reiterated the merits of the name “Ilindenska Makedonija” as, he said, it will not entail a constitutional review and “will make the foundation of our republic stronger.”
He also said that it satisfies Greece’s demand for a composite name solution and urged Greeks to think about the proposal “because it is worth it.”
FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov echoed the same sentiment, saying that his government is ready to back the proposal and convince the people of FYROM to back it.
Meanwhile, in a phone conversation with Tsipras on Saturday, US Vice President Mike Pence said there is a historic window of opportunity for a solution.
The name dispute negotiations were also on the agenda of Monday's talks in Washington between Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his American counterpart Mike Pompeo.
Kotzias will meet on Tuesday with United Nations Secretary-General Antonios Guterres and with Dimitrov and Nimetz on Thursday.