After a meeting in Athens, the Greek foreign minister and FYROM’s deputy prime minister for European Affairs said both sides were committed to resolving the issue within six months.
The dispute has held up FYROM’s aspirations of joining the European Union. Greece has blocked the ex-Yugoslav republic’s attempts to join NATO and objects to its EU membership bid, arguing that the word Macedonia implies a territorial claim over Greece’s northerly region of the same name.
“2018 is a golden year for opportunity for my country to make progress in terms of Euro-Atlantic integration. That is why we are committed to finding a solution,” said Bujar Osmani, FYROM’s deputy prime minister responsible for European affairs. He added that there was “sincerity and commitment” by Greece to resolve the issue.
Athens says there is now a window of opportunity to find a solution following the election of a more moderate government in Greece’s neighbouring country.
“The issue… is to create conditions for the widest possible consensus to put behind us a problem which has weighed on the country, and the wider region, for the past 25 years,” said Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos.