ATHENS – Next year could be crucial for the resolution of a longstanding dispute between Greece and Macedonia regarding the official name of the state, diplomatic sources have indicated to “Kathimerini”.
Officials in Europe and Washington believe that there could be an opportunity to solve the dispute for the name in the period between local elections in October this year and presidential elections in 2019 in Macedonia.
“Hopes of a solution were raised after Social Democrat Prime Minister Zoran Zaev formed a government in June, following months of political upheaval. Another reason diplomats believe a solution might be reachable is that American interest has shifted back to the region, chiefly over fears that Russia could seek to expand its influence over weak nations such as Bosnia and Herzegovina”, wrote the Greek media.
According to “Kathimerini” sources, American officials have noted a return to pragmatism in Macedonia, and the state is prepared to make compromises and concessions.
“Western diplomats have been pressuring neither Athens nor Skopje to make concessions at this phase, and both sides were advised to avoid public dialogue on the issue in order to avoid expectations, sources said. The aim is steps to be taken on both sides next year, and negotiations to be completed before presidential elections in Macedonia, in 2019, when Greece will face general elections”, wrote “Kathimerini”.