Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is expected to meet with his counterpart in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Nikola Dimitrov, in Skopje on Thursday amid efforts to settle the chronic name dispute between the two Balkan neighbors.
Kotzias trip, made possible after FYROM renamed their international airport honoring the ancient warrior king Alexander the Great as a goodwill gesture, will be the first direct flight from Athens to Skopje in 12 years.
According to reports, Kotzias has put forward five name proposals, noting that a Slavic version would be preferable. According to the same reports, Athens insists that a change in the country’s constitution is a condition for a solution.
Last week, a shadow was cast over negotiations after it emerged that Dimitrov, who was a member of the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party until 2014, reportedly described Greece’s positions during his contacts with European Union officials as bordering on the “absurd.”
Meanwhile on Sunday, thousands of diaspora Greeks gathered near the United Nations headquarters in New York to protest against the use of the word “Macedonia” in any solution to the ongoing row.