Zoran Zaev, the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), extolled the earnestness of his Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, in seeking a settlement with Skopje that he believes will be to the benefit of his country.
“In these difficult times, it takes great courage for one to be for real. My counterpart on the other side, Mr. Tsipras, is honest, and he believes that solving this problem will be a good development for his country. I know that a solution of the name issue is of value for my country. Moreover, the region will certainly benefit from a solution of this problem,” Zaev told the state-run Athens News Agency, while in Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Although Zaev reiterated that his country has no irredentist claims, he has balked at Greek demands for constitutional amendments to remove irredentist elements from FYROM’ basic law.
Focus on CBMs
Zaev underlined the importance of confidence-building measures in laying the groundwork for mutual trust between the two peoples, which can guarantee the long-term viability of any settlement, alongside the necessary legal guarantees.
FYROM’s prime minister appeared hopeful, though not certain, about the prospects of striking a compromise settlement by July, when Skopje hopes to be invited to join Nato, at its summit.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly underlined that a settlement with Greece is a precondition for FYROM’s admission.
“After 25 years, we should find a solution, with the hope that we shall remain partners with Greece in dignity. Without preserving dignity, it is not possible. The reverse is also true. If we destroy Greece’s dignity and its expectations, there is no possibility of success,” Zaev said, alluding to his demand that the language and ethnicity of his people continue to be called Macedonian.
“With this in mind, I know that we shall find a solution that will offer satisfactory guarantees to both nations and both countries, while creating opportunities for the future,” Zaev said.