ATHENS, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki said on Thursday there were "huge mountains" between Skopje and Athens in resolving the almost 25-year-old name dispute between the two neighbours.
Athens has disputed the Balkan state's name since Skopje declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and took the name of Macedonia, saying it implied territorial claims to a Greek province called Macedonia.
"We have to climb a mountain to settle this issue," Poposki said during a visit to Athens. "There are substantive differences in the positions of the two countries."
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said the two sides were seeking "an honourable compromise that will fight irredentism and extreme nationalism on both sides."
Reporting by Karolina Tagaris and Angeliki Koutantou