Sunday, 16 December 2018 | News today: 2

PM Zaev: Greece shows understanding for our identity

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Macedonia and Greece have never been closer to settling the name dispute. Only a geographic identifier is on the table. There are differences over amending of the Constitution, which is related with the scope of the name’s usage. Greece shows understanding for our identity, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told TV24 Vesti (News) on Friday.

‘I am the first Macedonian Premier to say that a name with a geographic qualifier is acceptable for us and I believe this statement has contributed to the negotiating process. The Greek side has shown understanding for our identity and I believe that we shall succeed,’ Zaev said.

We shall try to resolve the dispute by ourselves, as we did when reaching an agreement with Bulgaria, because it will be beneficial for advancing the relations with Greece, as well as offer an opportunity to Macedonia to move forward, join NATO, commence the EU accession talks and improve the living standard of its citizens, the PM said.

‘If I have a meeting with my Greek colleague Alexis Tsipras it will probably mean that there is a possibility for finding a solution that will be accepted by the citizens of both countries,’ Zaev said. I’ll meet Tsipras at the EU-Western Balkan summit in Sofia on 17-18 April, he said.

He pointed out that the renaming of Skopje Airport and the highway was a gesture of goodwill. The removal of the ‘Warrior on Horse’ statue is not related to the name talks, he added.

In case of no (name) solution, Zaev said, Macedonia ‘will keep on with reforms because they are vital for the citizens.’ Macedonia, he said, will remain committed to realizing its strategic goals – the EU/NATO membership – which also enjoys the opposition’s support.