Name Dispute With Macedonia Closed, Accord Almost Ready - Greek Foreign Minister

© REUTERS / Ognen TeofilovskiA person walks near a sign that reads "welcome to Macedonia" at the Macedonia-Greece border April 16, 2018
A person walks near a sign that reads welcome to Macedonia at the Macedonia-Greece border April 16, 2018 - Sputnik International
ATHENS (Sputnik) - Negotiations between Skopje and Athens on the constitutional name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia at the level of foreign ministers have been completed, and the final text of the agreement is being prepared, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said Monday.

"We, the foreign ministers, have completed what was entrusted to the prime ministers of the two countries. Today, and probably tomorrow, negotiations will continue at the level of experts — technical and legal issues must be resolved," Kotzias told journalists in Brussels after meeting with his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Dimitrov.

As soon as experts finish and clarify technical and legal issues, the texts prepared at the level of foreign ministers will be handed over to two prime ministers, who will then negotiate and reach a definitive agreement, the ministry's statement said.

Earlier in the day, Dimitrov said that it would be possible to reach an agreement on the country's name before the EU summit on June 28.

People shout slogans during a protest organized by the We are Macedonia movement as they rally against the name change demanded by Greece, in Skopje, Macedonia March 4,2018 - Sputnik International
Thousands of Macedonians Rally Worldwide Over Name Dispute With Greece (VIDEO)
Last May, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that some progress was achieved in the latest talks with his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev regarding the dispute over the name of the Republic of Macedonia, and the sides hoped to find the solution before the EU summit in June. Zaev said that the recently proposed "Republic of Ilinden Macedonia" could become a possible naming compromise.

READ MORE: Macedonia Must Revise Constitution to Resolve Republic's Name Issue — Tsipras

Greece and Macedonia are involved in a long-standing dispute over the name of the Republic of Macedonia. Greece regards "Macedonia" as a term referring only to one of its northern regions and to the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, and insists on the use of another name for its northern neighbor. In the 1995 interim bilateral accord, Greece agreed that the term "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) would be applied to Macedonia until the dispute was settled. The issue has been blocking Skopje's aspirations to join NATO and the European Union for years.

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