- Friday, January 12, 2018 6:02 PM
Skopje, 12 January 2018 (MIA) - Macedonia and Greece have agreed to form working groups led by foreign ministers to hold talks on a solution to the 25-year dispute over the name of the ex-Yugoslav Republic, Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov told Reuters on Friday.
“We parted convinced that there is a will on both sides to move forward,” Dimitrov said in the interview conducted after his meeting with Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Thursday in Thessaloniki.
The interlocutors discussed ways to move forward in the long-standing dispute, MIA reported.
FM Dimitrov said that both parties agreed to form working groups led by foreign ministers to directly negotiate possible solutions to the name dispute.
“I expect the first meeting could come as early as February,” Dimitrov told Reuters.
“We have a huge responsibility,” Dimitrov said adding that Macedonia is aware of concerns its neighbours may have.
“It is clear that the identity is very important for us. We have to find a way to convince our Greek colleagues that there is a clear distinction between our country and a region which includes northern Greece,” he said.
Dimitrov said that Macedonia, which was granted European Union candidacy status in 2005, hopes to set a date to start membership talks in June. It is also seeking an invitation to join NATO, which already includes most of its neighbors, Reuters reported as cited by MIA.
“I am a cautious optimist,” Dimitrov said referring to the resolution of the name dispute. ba/18:00
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