Work ahead as both sides eye Gorna Make­donija

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Athens sees next week’s meet­ing in Sofia be­tween For­eign Min­is­ter Nikos Kotzias and his coun­ter­part from the Former Yu­goslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia, Nikola Dim­itrov, on the side­lines of the Euro­pean Union’s In­for­mal Meet­ing of For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ters, as a crash test for its diplo­matic strate­gies in the name dis­pute.

First and fore­most among th­ese strate­gies is the draft­ing of a pro­posal by Athens that could form the ba­sis of dis­cus­sions be­tween the two coun­tries to re­solve the decades-old dis­pute.

An­a­lysts say the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in FYROM and the ef­forts by its prime min­is­ter, Zo­ran Zaev, to strike a del­i­cate bal­ance be­tween “re­al­ism” and the in­flu­ence of Slav-Mace­do­nian na­tion­al­ists, will be defin­ing el­e­ments that will, to a large ex­tent, dic­tate the out­come of ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Athens and Skopje.

Sources close to the ne­go­ti­a­tions have likened them to “re­con­nais­sance flights” and say that the real “op­er­a­tional” ne­go­ti­a­tions be­gin now.

So far, Athens and Skopje ap­pear to be clos­ing in on the name Gorna Make­donija (Up­per Mace­do­nia) but re­main very far apart in other as­pects of the ne­go­ti­a­tions, es­pe­cially those to do with na­tion­al­ity and lan­guage.

Greece does not rec­og­nize there “Mace­do­nian” na­tion. is a

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