The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is ready to make a concession over its name by adding a geographic designation, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Tuesday, after his parliament formally voted to change the name of the country’s international airport and a major highway.
“We are ready to accept a geographic designation for the name” of the country, Zaev told reporters in Skopje.
Zaev wouldn’t elaborate because he did not want to undermine the ongoing talks with Greece over the issue.
“I want the negotiation process to succeed, we are ready for a geographic designation and I will stop here since I know this is a sensitive issue,” he said.
Media in Greece and FYROM have been speculating about several possible variations, including the names to Upper Macedonia, Northern Macedonia, Vardar Macedonia, Macedonia-Skopje or New Macedonia.
But neither side, nor the UN negotiator Matthew Nimitz, have commented publicly about any names that have been brought forth.
The talk of a “compromise” that would allow FYROM to use any form of the word “Macedonia” has brought a strong response from various elements of Greek society both at home and abroad.
Two massive demonstrations took place in Thessaloniki and Athens, during which demonstrators refused to accept even a composite name for the country. The powerful Greek Orthodox Church has also expressed its unwillingness to budge on the matter.
The FYROM government on Tuesday also officially renamed Skopje’s Alexander the Great airport, which becomes International Airport Skopje. The north-south “Alexander the Great” highway, which begins at the Greek border, will now be called “Prijatelstvo,” which means friendship.
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