SKOPJE, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- It is important for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece to build confidence between them in order to settle the name issue, FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told reporters here Wednesday.
Zaev said the FYROM government was doing its best to come to an internal consensus in the country to find a final solution, assuring citizens that dignity and identity were an indispensable part of the negotiations with Greece.
The prime minister said he was optimistic a solution would be found soon.
"I'm glad that essentially all open issues have been dissected. Having been launched with seven starting positions, I know now that they have been reduced to four positions, meaning three have been settled. I believe in the policy of the new government that the remaining positions will be settled soon," Zaev told reporters.
He also voiced hope that the next steps would harmonize the two countries' positions on the remaining outstanding issues.
"Our positions should serve as a bridge of unity and towards finding a solution to the issue of Greece with our constitutional name," Zaev said.
"Understandably, the key positions are vital, for example the name, the constitution -- whether it is going to be changed or not, the language, and other matters that have been mentioned. It is the essence of the negotiating process itself," the premier said.
The head of government also said he expected the two parties to be pragmatic and for any possible solution to be upheld in a referendum.
To FYROM, solving the name issue with Greece is very important as it is considered the main obstacle to be overcome in order to start negotiations talks for European Union (EU) accession and NATO accession.
The name issue between the two countries has existed since 1992, one year after FYROM declared independence from Yugoslavia and chose the name Macedonia, which is also the name of a northern Greek province.
Athens worries the use of the same name by the neighboring state could lead to territorial claims.