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FYROM referendum on name issue by early October

All parties in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will meet in parliament the latest early in October to formulate a plebiscite on the Greece-FYROM name issue agreement, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said on Tuesday.

In statements to the ANA at the EU-Western Balkans meeting in London, Zaev said: “After the NATO summit, we will have meeting in the parliament, all political parties, to define the data for a referendum, the details of the question for the referendum, and the character of the referendum. That probably will be end of September, or beginning of October.”

FYROM’s prime minister said that the possible dates for holding the referendum were September 23 or 30, or October 7, which would give enough time to finalize the agreement process by the end of this year.

“After that, after the referendum, we hope that everybody will be motivated enough to contribute to the referendum process” and its success, Zaev told ANA. He noted however that a change in the constitution would have to be accommodated in the timetable. “What is needed is approximately between 90 and 110 days,” he said.

By January 15, if the process is successful, he noted, it will “remain for the Greek parliament to vote for the ratification of this agreement but also to confirm the ratification of the protocol for our future membership in NATO,” FYROM’s premier added.

In statements following the meeting, Zaev said that he and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chose solutions that would satisfy the citizens of both countries, not themselves or political parties. The agreement, he said he told the summit, is the best contribution to a new model of relations between countries and politicians.

Zaev expressed the belief that the Balkans are Europe’s new hope and he suggested that instead of differences and divisions the region’s countries should put forward common interests and values. FYROM’s strategic target is good neighborhood relations and regional collaboration, leading to EU membership, he noted.