A statue of the Macedon king Alexander the Great has been taken down in Skopje airport. The removal of the statue comes after the FYROM government recently decided to rename its main airport and a key highway, both named after the Greek hero, in a sign of goodwill towards Greece, with which it is currently engaged in negotiations over its name.
Talks have been ongoing between the two countries, aided by the UN, since late last year with the hope of a solution being found. The vast majority of Greeks remain firmly opposed to the use of the word ‘Macedonia’ being used in FYROM’s official name, which is once again proving to be the main sticking point in negotiations.
FYROM PM Zoran Zaev, has said he remains optimistic a solution to the name dispute with Greece will be reached soon, but reiterated that his country cannot accept the demand by Athens to change its constitution.
Speaking to the FT, Zaev said: “The new requirement from Greece is that we need to change our constitution. But a constitution is a home rulebook. It doesn’t have implications outside the country.” Athens wants Skopje to change its constitution to rid it of any references that could lead to irredentist claims to the province of Macedonia in northern Greece.