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Greece puts forward five alternative names, as it looks to resolve the dispute with its neighbour, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia


April 2018

Upper Macedonia. New Macedonia. Northern Macedonia.

These are some of the proposed new names for the country of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, with which Greece has fought for years, arguing that the country's name is too close to that of a northern Greek province, also called Macedonia.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotsias has sent the proposal to Skopje in hopes of settling the dispute, media in both countries reported on Tuesday.

Kotsias, who was visiting Skopje last Thursday, told Greek state TV ERT in Athens that he has sent the draft several days before.

Along with the name dispute, Athens accuses Skopje of usurping Hellenic heritage, such as the mantle of Alexander the Great.

The row broke out when Skopje split from the former Yugoslavia and became independent in 1991. UN-brokered talks, launched in 1995, produced no permanent solution but the parties agreed at UN level on a temporary name for the small nation, as "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM).

Greece has blocked Skopje in international organisations, including NATO and EU, ever since.

The new Skopje government, led by Social Democrats who last (northern) summer ended an 11- year reign by the nationalists, have made appeasing moves, such as renaming infrastructure such as roads, airpots etc previously called after Alexander.

The new proposal from Athens is a result of the thaw. The five proposals all retain the word "Macedonia", but include an adjective to differentiate it from the Greek province and the ancient Hellenic kingdom.

The other two proposals are: Vardar Macedonia and Macedonia-Skopje.

The Greek Government also demands guarantees that the current common borders are protected and respected and none of the two nations will have any territorial claims over the other.

During a news conference, in Skopje last week,Kotzias stressed that "doing nothing" on the naming dispute "is not an option." Politicians have to find solutions, he added.

"Greece seeks an honorable compro-mise, because no one can get everything one desires," Kotzias said.

FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said he hopes for a solution in time for Macedonia to receive an invitation to join NATO at the bloc's summit in July.


Greek Tribune




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