Tuesday, 24 April 2018 | News today: 0

Progress made, but the hardest issues remain to be solved, say Dimitrov and Kotzias

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Progress has been made involving some of the issues that have already matured and there are still differences for others, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov stated Thursday after his meeting in Ohrid with Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.

Dimitrov said that the talks were ‘open and sincere’ and that for the first time a time frame was discussed as well as the steps that needed to be taken to implement any agreement, which might be reached.

“We have talked without outsmarting each other all the while showing great understanding about the needs of the other party. Our main challenge is how to formulate the primary concerns of the two parties and to find the combination,” noted the Macedonian top diplomat.

He told reporters in Ohird that the working groups of the two ministries, consisting of high diplomats, had also held a meeting, which managed to align a text on a future cooperation in various areas based in the progress of the Vienna talks (on March 30). Diplomats have been also assigned to draft a document on preventing irredentism by the two parties and to work on segments of the preamble of a possible bilateral deal.

On his part, FM Kotzias confirmed that progress was made both by the ministers and by the working groups.

“There’s progress. The closer we get to solving our problems, the more we are left with fewer issues to solve, which in fact are the hardest. Today we made a positive step and we hope that we can make the difficult issues become more easy. We are trying to solve problems that had been created in the past by someone else, but that’s the job of diplomacy,” Kotzias said.

FMs Dimitrov and Kotzias will inform the countries’ premiers, namely Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras, about today’s name talks. They said the process would continue with several meetings already being planned. Namely, the ministers will meet on May 3 and 4 in Thessaloniki followed by another round of talks on May 11 and 12.