The head of Macedonia’s junior governing party, the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, Ali Ahmeti has expressed optimism about a possible solution to the on-going name row with Greece.
In an interview for the Skopje based A1 TV, he said that the political climate towards finding a mutually acceptable solution has improved,
“What’s most important now is to enable the continuation of the talks. There is a positive climate on both sides and encouragement by the international community… I think that we will see positive steps in December,” said Ahmeti.
Macedonia’s Prime Minister Nicola Gruevski and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou will meet Friday on the sidelines of a trilateral meeting on climate change with Albania. The meeting has raised expectations that the two will come to some solution that will permit Greece to lift its threat of blocking EU member states from giving Macedonia a start date for EU accession negotiations when they meet on December 7.
Last year, Greece vetoed NATO’s decision to invite Macedonia to join the Alliance, and has said it block Skopje’s EU accession efforts pending a solution to the name. Greece argues that at the country’s constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia implies territorial claims towards its own northern province which is also called Macedonia.
However, Gruevski speaking on Wednesday sought to dampen expectations of a quick deal, noting that one meeting is unlikely to resolve the 18-year-long dispute.
Asked whether DUI will leave the governing coalition if EU member states fail to give Macedonia a start date for accession negotiations, Ahmeti said: “the country has no need of crisis and there is no need of a psychological terror against Macedonian citizens because things are moving in the right direction”.
Media speculate that some form of the name Northern Macedonia is on the table as a possible solution.