ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece and Macedonia said Tuesday they have traded proposals for the resolution of their dispute over the former Yugoslav republic’s name, ahead of a meeting on the issue between the two countries’ foreign ministers.
The two countries have been at odds for a quarter century over the name “Macedonia,” which Greece argues harbors territorial claims to its northern province of the same name. A change of government in Macedonia has renewed hopes for an agreement and the two sides have intensified talks in recent months.
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said Tuesday that Athens had sent its proposal to Macedonia’s government in Skopje and was awaiting comments from its northern neighbor.
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said his government had sent its proposals to Greece, but added that the two sides had not yet discussed a specific new name for his country.
“Other aspects of negotiations are more important,” Zaev told reporters. “I wouldn’t go into details precisely, because of the need to be careful and to give a chance for these negotiations to be successful.”
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is scheduled to be in Skopje for a two-day visit that starts Thursday. Kotzias plans to meet with government officials, opposition figures and ethnic Albanian minority parties to discuss the name issue.
The foreign ministers of both countries are set to meet with a United Nations negotiator in Vienna on March 30.