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Macedonia positive on solving name row with Greece

Macedonia positive on solving name row with Greece

Macedonia's must resolve a decades-long dispute over its name, implement judicial reform and build good relations with neighbouring countries to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Western military alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

Jens Stoltenberg said he "strongly welcomes" the small Balkan country's efforts to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation - a decade after the dispute with neighboring Greece halted an earlier accession effort.

"There is still much hard work to be done", he added.

During the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Bucharest in 2008, Greece vetoed FYROM's application to enter the alliance without having solved the name issue.

A dispute over the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's name is holding back the Balkan state's ambitions of both joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the EU.

Nimetz has previously said that he doesn't think it realistic not to include Macedonia somewhere in the name.

Greece maintains that its neighbor's name implies a territorial claim on its own adjoining province of Macedonia.

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"I should be honest with you".

The solving of name issue is seen as the main obstacle that Macedonia should overcome in order to make progress towards its European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation integration process. There is no other way to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation until an acceptable solution on the name is found.

Stoltenberg told Macedonian lawmakers that he welcomes the willingness and resolve Prime Minister Zoran Zaev's government has shown to solve the dispute since he came to power seven months ago.

However, government's position Thursday was quite different as it noted that the Macedonian government was committed to resolving the dispute with Greece on the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia.

The meeting took place at the Archbishopric in Athens after Tsipras received a briefing by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on the results so far of the talks that resumed on Wednesday in NY in the presence of United Nations special mediator Matthew Nimitz.

Earlier, Macedonian negotiator Vasko Naumovski said the proposals presented by United Nations mediator Matthew Nimitz were "far from a dignified solution".

He also commended Macedonia for the "important progress" made on "transparency, accountability, oversight of the intelligence and security agencies, and judicial reform". "And countries aspiring to join the Alliance must demonstrate that they share those values", he stated.