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Macedonia says reaches framework on name dispute solution with Greece

Staff Writer |
Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov declared that Macedonia and Greece have reached a framework for a solution to the dispute over Macedonia's name, according to Macedonian International Agency (MIA).

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"We have a framework that needs more work and at the moment legal teams from both ministries are working on it," Dimitrov said. The remarks came after a meeting with the Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias on Sunday in Brussels.

According to Dimitrov, a meeting between the prime ministers of Macedonia Zoran Zaev and Greece Alexis Tsipras in mid-week "will decide important things, from the options that are at the table."

Last week Dimitrov and Kotzias held another round of name talks in New York in the presence of the United Nations mediator, Matthew Nimetz, which ended without a breakthrough.

On Monday morning, during his visit in Brussels, Dimitrov had a working breakfast with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and with the foreign ministers of EU member states.

In her remarks, Mogherini said the progress made at the Athens-Skopje talks was very encouraging.

Athens and Skopje have been at odds over the use of the name of Macedonia since Greece's northern neighbor declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

Macedonia is formally called Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) at the United Nations. Macedonia is also the name of a northern province in Greece and Athens is worried that the use of the same name by the neighboring state could lead to territorial claims.

The solving of name row that exists between two countries is seen as main obstacle that Macedonia has to overcome in order to make progress towards the European Union and NATO integration.

During the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008, Greece vetoed FYROM's application to enter the alliance without having solved the name issue. As Skopje has renewed efforts to join the EU and NATO, Greece has signaled that its position remains unchanged.

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