The Secretary-General of NATO stressed the importance of a solution being found between Athens and Skopje over the decades-long name dispute between Greece and FYROM. Talks have been ongoing since the end of last year with both sides voicing their optimism over finding a positive solution.
Addressing FYROM’s parliament, Jens Stoltenberg reiterated NATO’s position that there is no ‘plan B’ in regards for FYROM joining the alliance if talks break down: “There is still much hard work to be done. That means, of course, resolving the issue of your country’s name. It’s an issue that has weighed on this region and this country for far too long,” he said.
Meanwhile, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras met on Thursday with Greek Archbishop Ieronymos to discuss the ongoing negotiations before the government briefed the country’s political party leaders on the latest developments. The talks were unusual in that religious leaders are not normally involved in political issues.
The talks are complicated due to the Greek stance in opposing any mention of the word ‘Macedonia’ in FYROM’s official name. Another issue to be resolved, among many, is the use of ‘Alexander the Great’ in the official title of Skopje’s international airport. Despite all talks leading up to this point resulting in a stalemate, it is hoped that a solution may finally be reached.