Speaking at a closed event of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Berlin, the FYROM prime minister focused on the negotiations with Greece on the naming issue, saying that the Greek government is supportive of Skopje becoming a member of NATO and the EU.
“[Greek premier] Alexis Tsipras is sincere; he believes that the solution to the name issue will be a good development for his country,” Zaev said, adding that the most difficult obstacles are building mutual trust and ensuring that the solution will be final and will protect the dignity and identity of both sides.
Zaev stressed that his country has no irredentist aspirations: “After 25 years, we have to find a solution. In the hope that we will remain partners with Greece with dignity. Without dignity, it is not. And vice versa: If we destroy the dignity of Greece, or its expectations, there is no chance of success.
“With that in mind, I know we will find a solution that will give adequate guarantees to the two nations, the two countries, and will provide opportunities for the future,” the FYROM prime minister said.
Zaev admitted that the name issue is not easy to resolve, and building trust between the two countries will be the main factor that would lead to a solution.
“We have our differences on the name issue. There is a possibility that we can find a solution, but only if we build such confidence and give the necessary legal guarantees in the negotiation process of what will be acceptable to the world. Not only by Zaev and Tsipras, or by [foreign ministers] Dimitrov and Kotzias,” the FYROM prime minister said.
“With Greece, we are building a positive momentum in order to overcome the long-standing name dispute… To take further steps, I met with Prime Minister Tsipras in Davos.
“In a friendly and constructive way, we have agreed on actions that will improve mutual trust,” Zaev said, referring to the removal of the name ‘Alexander the Great’ from Skopje’s airport and the national highway that leads to Greece.