Sunday, 16 December 2018 | News today: 2

Dimitrov: Macedonia wants to solve name dispute, but it’s not only up to us

The negotiation process with Greece evolves daily, and with it, the optimism for a solution, Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov said during a news conference on Monday.

Macedonia, he pointed out, is doing all it can to reach a fair compromise that is acceptable to both sides. We are not afraid, he said, to look problems in the eye, but the solution is not only ours to provide.

“It’s not only up to us,” Dimitrov said. “We have been trying to reach a solution that will alleviate both countries’ concerns over the distinction between Macedonia, the country, and Macedonia, the region in Greece.

“This distinction must not interfere in either country’s identity issues. For two 21-century countries that share the Macedonian geographic region, it should be possible and necessary to find a way to share the region’s cultural heritage, too, even when they interpret it differently or highlight different aspects of it.”

Dimitrov spoke at the press conference held together with his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz.

Polish Foreign Minister Czaputowicz was hopeful that the Macedonia-Greece negotiations would turn out well.

“We have noticed the efforts on Macedonia’s part,” Czaputowicz said, “such as the airport name change, or the readiness to discuss the country’s name.

“[But] the Macedonian side also has certain expectations about keeping the national identity intact, which is important and should be taken into account.”

Dimitrov did not share any details on when Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias would arrive in Macedonia to bring the Greek draft-agreement for the name dispute solution.

The name issue is on the agenda of the upcoming talks with US Assistant Secretary of State, European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell, who is visiting Macedonia on Tuesday.

“I believe we’ll address the issue at the beginning of the meeting,” Dimitrov said. “It will be a good opportunity to inform him about the dynamics of the name dispute resolution process.”