Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos announced on Sunday it is up to FYROM to make the next move in the ongoing negotiations aiming to resolve the naming dispute.
“The Greek government is waiting for Mr. Zaev to make the decisive step to reach an agreement. The ball is in their court,” he told TV station Kontra channel.
Tzanakopoulos said he cannot anticipate when the Prime Ministers of the two countries, Alexis Tsipras and Zaev, will speak on the phone, an indication that talks are moving into their final stage, as “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
The prospects for a breakthrough in talks are unclear as technical-level discussions between the two sides have been ridden with obstacles.
In comments on Saturday, Zaev said he was “optimistic” but that certain “technical details” remain to be settled, adding that he would telephone his Greek counterpart when those issues have been resolved.
Meanwhile, thousands in Skopje have protested plans to change their country’s name, which has been at the centre of a dispute with neighbouring Greece.
FYROM’s opposition party VMRO-DPMNE said they will not support any constitutional bid to change the name of the country, said Hristijan Mickoski, new leader of the opposition party. “We are very clear on this subject,” said Mickoski, during the protest march and also added that any name change agreed with Greece would have to be ratified by parliament and then put to a referendum.