The Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Zoran Zaev said on Wednesday that he and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras feel a responsibility to resolve a 25-year-old name dispute affecting relations between the two countries, noting that this will open the way for FYROM’s entry to NATO and the European Union.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Tsipras after a long meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Zaev said the final solution to the name dispute must be one that is acceptable to both parties and takes into account the national dignity of both peoples.
“We want to be partners in the EU and NATO allies to tackle the full framework of difficulties,” he said, noting that resolving the name dispute is crucial for the country’s NATO and EU ambitions.
He said his government does not have any irredentist claims against Greece and his government’s actions show its good faith. He announced plans to change the name of Skopje’s airport – currently named “Alexander the Great” – and of a major roadway right after his meeting with Tsipras in Davos.
He also said his government remains committed to the UN process and its mediator Matthew Nimetz, adding that talks are entering a more intensive phase. “We are committed to building trust between our countries with the ultimate goal of helping to overcome the problems between our countries. We are at a time when we can create good-neighbourly relations,” he added.