by Aggelos Skordas
FYROM’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has revealed the four names his country has put on the negotiating table for the longstanding naming dispute with Greece. Among them is the name Upper Macedonia, Zaev said in an interview with Reuters. Moreover, he leaves an open window for “minor changes” in the country’s Constitution, insisting that no radical changes are needed, as his country has no irredentist aspirations towards Greece.
At the same time, Greece’s Foreign Ministry has avoided commenting on Zaev’s new interview, although highlighting Athens’ inconvenience on the neighbouring country’s Premier barrage of statements and interviews while the contacts of the two countries are in full swing. Same sources denied confirming whether the four names leaked by Zaev are the ones that Skopje has officially tabled, while “no comments” was the answer to the question whether these names would be written in English or Slavic and untranslatable as Athens wants.
The four names suggested by Zaev
“The suggestions are Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of Upper Macedonia, Republic of Vardar Macedonia and Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)”, Zaev told Reuters after attending a summit on the Western Balkans in London. Asked whether Greece would be happy with one of these options he added: “Yes… They have more preferred options and some not so preferred options.”
Regarding the country’s Constitution amendment, another condition Athens has set in order to reach commonly accepted solution with FYROM, Zaev underlined: “Of course we hope we would find a solution (on the Constitution). But we must take care about the dignity and identity of both sides because friends take care of each other. We are prepared to do a change”, adding however that it would not be by very much “because it is very difficult”.
According to Reuters, the Foreign Ministers of Greece and FYROM, Nikos Kotzias and Nikola Dimitrov respectively, are due to hold further talks and Zaev also plans to meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras within the coming month.