08:59 GMT +321 September 2018
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    (FILES) This file photo taken on December 04, 2016 shows the leader of the main Macedonian opposition Social Democrats Zoran Zaev delivering a speech during a pre election rally in Skopje on December 4, 2016

    Skopje Hopes to Settle Macedonia's Name Dispute in 1st Half of 2018

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    The Prime Minister of Macedonia said that there's a possibility to find a solution to the decades-long dispute between the republic and Greece in the first half of 2018.

    ATHENS (Sputnik) — The dispute over the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia that is ongoing between the republic and Greece might be solved in the first half of 2018, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said.

    "I believe that there is a possibility to find a solution, that would promote the cooperation between the two states forever, by the end of the first half of 2018," Zaev said in an interview with Alpha TV broadcaster released on Sunday.

    Macedonia and Greece are involved in an ongoing dispute over the name of the Republic of Macedonia. Greece regards "Macedonia" as a term referring only to one of its regions and to the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, and insists on the use of the term Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for it northern neighbor's name. Due to this problem, Athens has been blocking Skopje's accession to NATO and to the European Union for years.

    On January 19, the two parties are expected to engage in the negotiations on the issue at the United Nations in New York under the mediation of UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Matthew Nimetz.

    In June, Zaev expressed readiness to make a concession over the state's name and join NATO as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in order to accelerate the country's EU integration process.

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    Zoran Zaev, Greece, Macedonia
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