The Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Zoran Zaev expressed his optimism that Greece and FYROM would reach a solution on the name dispute within 2018 in statements he made on Tuesday. The PM of FYROM also spoke on the phone with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, Tuesday.
Mr. Zaev said his country was determined to enter into substantive negotiations with Greece over the name issue within the first 6 months of the new year. “On our part, we are ready for a substantive and real penetration of the name dispute over the first 6-month period of the current year. I am convinced that it is possible to find a solution, but of course, readiness is also needed on the other side”, he stressed.
He added that his decision to spend the holiday period in Thessaloniki was tied to these efforts, as he wanted to send a message that politicians must open closed doors and set an example for the citizens to communicate and collaborate better with each other. Mr. Zaev was in Thessaloniki during the Christmas holidays as a guest of the city’s Mayor Giannis Boutaris. Both Mr. Tsipras and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias phoned him to offer their season’s wishes.