Skopje and Athens could solve name dispute "by July" - Zaev

Skopje and Athens "have a real chance" to solve the name dispute by July, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has said.

Source: B92, Beta, AFP
Skopje (Tanjug, file)
Skopje (Tanjug, file)

Beta reported this on Sunday citing AFP.

"I believe it's possible to find a solution by the end of the first semester of 2018," Zaev told Greece's Alpha TV on Saturday.

"Our strategic orientation is conclusively the EU and NATO," Zaev said.

According to the agency, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias recently also said that he was "optimistic" about finding a solution during 2018.

The dispute began in 1991 when this former Yugoslav republic declared independence as the Republic of Macedonia. But Greece considers the name Macedonia to be "a part of its historical heritage," Beta said it its report.

It is also the name of a northern Greek region, AFP noted.

The UN accepted the country as a member under the name the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Pending a solution to the dispute, Greece has been blocking the northern neighbor's accession to the EU and NATO.

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