SKOPJE, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- The first meeting between the negotiators from Macedonia and Greece with the UN mediator Matthew Nimetz to discuss the name dispute between the two countries is expected to be held on Nov. 20 or 21, according to a statement on Tuesday by Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.
Macedonia is the name of a northern province in Greece and Athens is worried that the use of the same name by the neighboring state could lead to territorial claims.
As Skopje has renewed efforts to join EU and NATO, Greece has signaled that its position remains unchanged. For this reason, Macedonia's new government has stepped up efforts to negotiate and reach an agreement to resolve the issue.
Zaev told reporters in Ljubljana that it was logical after local elections that Macedonia made a new attempt to resolve this essential or sensitive problem, the PM's cabinet said.
"This is indeed actual issue in Macedonia. At the same time, the name issue is also an obstacle for our integration processes," Zaev told media following the meeting he had with his Slovenian counterpart Miro Cerar.
Zaev also talked about the ongoing process of European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Macedonia, underlining that the focus was put on resolving the dispute with Greece.
According to Zaev, negotiations are expected to be intensified this month, the Macedonian government's press office said late Tuesday.
He further stressed that Macedonia was building the friendly relations with Greece, expressing the belief that in such friendly atmosphere, a solution could be found on this thorny issue.