Greek Prime Minister: Greece ready to resolve Macedonia issue

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and commented on the Macedonia name dispute. “It is unfortunate that a solution has not been found so far,” reports quoted him as saying.

Regarding Athens’ position over the name issue, Papandreou said that Greece was willing to find a solution but pointed out that his country wanted a “name with geographic qualifier for all uses”.

Currently, Greece’s northern neighbor is a member of the UN under the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), while some countries recognize it under its constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia.

“We are ready and we’re taking actions to solve the dispute. These are not secret initiatives, but open and public whose goal is to find a solution within mentioned frameworks,” Papandreou pointed out.

Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, who is in New York with the PM, has called on Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski to change his uncompromising position in order to make positive progress in negotiations.

However, he did not wish to comment on the proposed solution – with Northern, Vardar and other prefixes all being mentioned.

The government in Skopje, meanwhile, believes that the country should keep its constitutional name which was recognized by 127 member countries of the UN.

Any change will have to be confirmed in a referendum, Skopje says.

That country is also “ready to talk about a special arrangement regarding the representing in bilateral relations with Greece”, said reports.

Gruevski was quoted as saying that Skopje wanted to solve the issue as soon as possible so the process of European integrations, which was delayed by the name dispute, “could smoothly continue”.

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