Kotzias and Dimitrov report progress after name talks, say process is continuing

Progress had been made on some issues but differences remain, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Nikola Dimitrov said on Thursday, in joint statements after their meeting in Ohrid.

In a brief statement to the press, during which they did not take questions, the two ministers said that a number of issues had been resolved but this left the toughest and thorniest to be tackled.

“As you see, the closer we come and the more issues we resolve, there are ever fewer issues left to discuss but they are also the most difficult. We took the steps that we could today, positive steps, and always hope that we will be able to take the big and more difficult steps, to make them easy,” Kotzias said.

Dimitrov described the talks as “sincere” and “with great understanding of the needs of the other,” while noting that they had also included a discussion on the time framework and the steps that will be taken if agreement is reached for the first time.

“Our main aim in the talks is how to bring about the desired solution,” he said.

While the ministers were meeting, the working groups of the two sides had worked and almost agreed on a text on future cooperation in a number of areas, based on the progress made in Vienna, including the issue of avoiding irredentism on the two sides, Dimitrov told reporters.

“We will inform our prime ministers that the process is continuing”, he said, noting that a future four-party meeting has been planned.

Kotzias also referred to a four-way meeting to be held in Thessaloniki on May 3-4 and another meeting in Attica on May 11-12 to discuss the future of Europe.