Athens: Settlement of Macedonia Naming Dispute Possible Within 2 Months – Source

Athens: Settlement of Macedonia Naming Dispute Possible Within 2 Months – Source
REUTERS/ Antonis Nicolopoulos/EurokinissiEurope13:10 30.01.2018(updated 13:12 30.01.2018) Get short URL

ATHENS (Sputnik) – Greek authorities consider that it is possible to settle the so-called Macedonian naming issue within two months, which means ahead of the July NATO summit, a source familiar with the course of the talks told Sputnik on Tuesday.

“There is absolutely no point in protracting the talks until July. If there is a decision it will be in February, or at least in March… It is clear that it would be a political decision, however there is no need to think that everything has already been decided. That is wrong, there are many problems,” the source said answering a question on the possibility to settle the dispute before the NATO summit in July, when the accession of the former Yugoslav nation to the alliance would be discussed.

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The source said that the main obstacle to the settlement of the dispute was the issue of Macedonian irredentism adding that Greece demanded that Macedonia change its constitution.

According to the source, about half of Greeks do not want to see the word “Macedonia” in the name of the neighboring state.

Greece and Macedonia are involved in an ongoing dispute over the name of the Republic of Macedonia. Greece regards “Macedonia” as a term referring only to one of its northern regions and to the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, and insists on the use of another name for its northern neighbor’s name. In the 1995 interim bilateral accord, Greece agreed that the term “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (FYROM) would be applied to Macedonia until the dispute’s settlement. The issue has been blocking Skopje’s aspirations to join NATO and the European Union for years.

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Overnight into Tuesday, the ERT-1 broadcaster aired an interview of Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, in which the diplomat said that the Greek Foreign Ministry will present a draft agreement on the so-called Macedonian naming issue in mid-February to the Greek government, UN Special Representative for the Greek-Macedonian dispute Matthew Nimetz and to the government of Macedonia.