Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and FYROM PM Zoran Zaev this afternoon had a much-awaited, one hour telephone conversation which has cultivated hopes of a rapid settlement of the FYROM naming issue, but no agreement was announced and the two leaders are scheduled to speak again tomorrow morning.
The Greek PM’s office issued an upbeat readout of the one-hour talks.
“The Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, this afternoon had a telephone contact with the Prime Minister of FYROM, Zoran Zaev, which was conducted in a good climate. The two Prime Ministers agreed to conclude their talks in a new telephone contact on Tuesday morning,” the statement read.
Zaev today expressed hopes that a settlement can be reached before the 28-29 June EU summit, where he hopes FYROM will be given a date for the start of its EU accession talks, and he underlined that time is pressing.
FYROM media reported that Zaev is stressing the need for a “quality” solution that is dignified and preserves the identity of the citizens of his country, as that is the only way that they will embrace it positively in a referendum.
Zaev plans to put a prospective settlement to a referendum in the autumn.
“We are in the last minutes of efforts for each side to come closer to the positions of the other, and when that happens we shall jointly announce the happy news for the residents of both countries,” Zaev said.
That means that there are still unresolved issues, which many believe have to do with the domestic use of the new name in FYROM, and the timetable for its implementation.
Zaev said that the agreement will be between the two prime ministers, the two governments, and the two foreign ministers, and that when it is concluded, the two countries’ Presidents and opposition leaders will be briefed.
Before Zaev’s telephone call, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias was summoned to the PM’s office for deliberations. That meeting came after the FYROM wire service Makfax reported that Zaev would be calling Tsipras within the day.