Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov expressed optimism over the prospects of a resolution to the name dispute between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, speaking to Greek media from Strasbourg.
Borisov who was in Strasbourg presenting his country’s priorities as its assumes the helm of the Eu presidency, expressed his support for the negotiation talks between Greece and FYROM.
“I support a discussion between them; I know them, if they need help I will give it immediately but the two of them must decide,” he said. Bulgaria, he added, will only be pleased if there are excellent relations between Athens and Skopje, in the same way that Sofia now enjoys excellent relations with both Skopje and Athens.
“My counterpart Alexis Tsipras and my counterpart Zoran Zaev are extremely serious people,” he said. He expressed the opinion that the two sides should first resolve the issue on a bilateral level:
“As we did with Zaev, when we signed a good neighbourhood agreement and this was ratified by Skopje’s parliament, Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev should first resolve the matter between them.”
Meanwhile the UN’s chief negotiator in the decades long name dispute between Greece and FYROM also expressed his optimism on Wednesday, stating that negotiations between the two countries are gaining new momentum after a meeting with the representatives of the two countries in New York to discuss the decades-old dispute.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting with FYROM’s Ambassador to the United States, Vasko Naumovski, and Greece’s negotiator Adamantios Vassilakis, Nimetz said the two sides will take his proposals back to their respective countries to study them.
“I really believe we have leadership in both Athens and Skopje that genuinely want a solution. I mean they don’t just say they want a solution, I think they believe it’s in the national interest of both countries to solve this problem,” he said.
“We discussed the general issue that we have been discussing for some time and I gave a set of ideas based on what the parties have been talking about recently as maybe a helpful framework for the parties to consider as we go forward. I went through it at the meeting. Obviously, the two sides, having just received it didn’t have any real comments, and they’re taking it back to their capitals. I am very hopeful that this process is moving in a positive direction,” he explained.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg added his voice on Wednesday as the UN mediated talks began in New York, stating that FYROM will not be invited to join the Alliance unless there is a mutually acceptable solution to the name dispute.
Speaking to media shortly before his arrival in Skopje, Stoltenberg stressed that NATOs position remains unchanged and categorically ruled out the possibility that FYROM might receive an invitation to join NATO at the July summit in Brussels if a solution to the name dispute has not been found.
“No. NATO’s position remains unchanged. All decisions in NATO are reached based on a consensus among all NATO allies. At the summit in Bucharest and all subsequent summits, they agreed that NATO will invite [FYROM] to join after a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue under UN auspices is reached,” he said.