Mace­do­nia sees so­lu­tion to Greece name dis­pute

The Jerusalem Post - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

SOFIA (Reuters) – Mace­do­nian Prime Min­is­ter Zo­ran Zaev said on Thurs­day an agree­ment be­tween Skopje and Athens to set­tle a decades-old name dis­pute could be reached be­fore a Euro­pean Union sum­mit in June.

Af­ter meet­ing his Greek coun­ter­part, Alexis Tsipras, on the side­lines of the EU-Western Balkans sum­mit in Sofia, Zaev told re­porters: “We have dis­cussed one [par­tic­u­lar] so­lu­tion to the name dis­pute that could be ac­cept­able for both sides, but we need to have fur­ther dis­cus­sions in our coun­tries.”

Mace­do­nia’s NATO and EU ac­ces­sion process has been blocked by Greece, which dis­putes the for­mer Yu­goslav repub­lic’s name, say­ing it im­plies a ter­ri­to­rial claim over its north­ern prov­ince of the same name.

Zaev said the two sides would con­tinue talk­ing “even if we miss the June dead­line.

“We are solv­ing the dis­pute in or­der to strengthen the dig­nity and iden­tity of the cit­i­zens in both coun­tries,” he added.

Zaev said he had dis­cussed progress on solv­ing the name dis­pute with French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron and Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel.

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