ATHENS – Responding to calls from Balkan and European leaders to settle a name dispute with hits neighbor the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Greece said it intends to keep negotiating.
The talks have gone on more than 20 years and not made a single step of progress after Greece gave away the name “Macedonia” in the FYROM acronym and has desperately been trying to find a way to get it back or dilute it.
World leaders are impatient over the delays in finding a solution, especially since Greece has used its veto as a member of NATO and the European Union to block FYROM’s entry into both.
“Greece supports the negotiation process,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Constantinos Koutras said, stressing that Greece’s position is in line with European norms and international law despite the failed talks.
His comments came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU officials hosted leaders from eight Western Balkan nations in Berlin.
The gathering, which was designed to promote economic and political reform in the region, appeared to mark a shift from Washington to Berlin of diplomatic pressure for a name settlement, according to analysts.
“The key to a substantial development in this process is not to be found in Athens,” Koutras said, describing the issue as a matter of regional stability.
A joint declaration issued after the Berlin conference said that the “dispute must be urgently be resolved by a willingness to compromise on all sides,” but didn’t offer any way to do it. Officials on both sides and from the United Nations have abjectly failed to find any answer.