It is no secret that the US has for many years sought to shepherd the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia into Nato and the European Union, and that the main obstacle in recent years has been the naming dispute with Greece.
With negotiations between the two sides warming up, especially after the election to the FYROM prime ministership of moderate Zoran Zaev, Washington has been extremely guarded in its statements, while sending strong symbolic messages, such as the recent visit to Skopje of Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who underlined that a name settlement remains a prerequisite for FYROM’s admission to the Alliance.
Now, US Ambassador to Athens Geoffrey Pyatt has expressed the view that now an ideal time to tackle the thorny issue and resolve the name problem.
Pyatt, speaking after a meeting with the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yannis Boutaris, underlined that change of government in Skopje in December, when Zaev came to power, will be helpful in reaching a settlement.
Pyatt and Boutaris also discussed arrangements for this year’s Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, at which the United States will be the honoured country.