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Greece offers proposal for Macedonia conundrum

Kotzias will meet his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Dimitrov prior to a meeting on March 30 in Vienna with UN mediator Matthew Nimetz.

Published: 20th March 2018 08:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th March 2018 08:56 PM   |  A+A-

By AFP

ATHENS: The Greek government said Tuesday it had submitted proposals to Macedonia aimed at resolving the long-running row over the name of its neighbour.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will go to Skopje on Thursday to discuss how to end a saga which has festered since Macedonia's independence in the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991 and hindered its ambitions of EU and NATO membership.

Kotzias will meet his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Dimitrov prior to a meeting on March 30 in Vienna with UN mediator Matthew Nimetz.

Under Greece's plan, the ex-Yugoslav republic will have a composite name, following earlier proposals by Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Suggestions have included Upper Macedonia, Northern Macedonia, Vardar Macedonia and Macedonia-Skopje.

Athens has long argued that calling the country simply Macedonia implies Skopje has claims to the territory and heritage of Greece's historic northern region of the same name.

In light of the Greek objections, the country joined the UN in 1993 as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said Athens hoped to see a sole name agreed for universal use.

He stressed that would require "a constitutional amendment by the neighbouring state".

The Macedonian government however currently lacks sufficient parliamentary support for such a move to pass.

"Athens is waiting for comments and observations from the other party," Tzanakopoulos said.



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