May 18, 2018 / 8:34 AM / 10 months ago

Greek PM to brief opposition parties over Macedonia name dispute

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gives a news conference at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wants to brief the country’s president and opposition leaders over the progress achieved with Skopje in negotiations to settle a decades old dispute over Macedonia’s name, a government official said on Friday.

Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev discussed the issue during an EU-Western Balkans summit this week. Both said that significant progress had been achieved but more deliberations were needed.

“The prime minister intends to brief the President and the opposition parties on Saturday and Sunday,” the official said.

The row has held up the small ex Yugoslav Republic’s aspirations to join the NATO alliance and the European Union.

Greece wants Macedonia to adopt a compound name which will be used internationally and domestically and to remove references in its constitution which Athens says are irredentist, or implying potential territorial claims. Greece’s northern region is named Macedonia.

“A constitutional revision is a necessary condition,” the official said.

Reporting by Renee Maltezou

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