SKOPJE, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Tuesday that his government had exchanged name issue proposals for settling the dispute over the country's name to Greece.
"The draft agreement sent by the Greek side for the solution of the name dispute is an instrument which will help in the process of negotiations that will take place at the end of this month in Vienna," Zaev said at a press conference.
He said other aspects of negotiations were more important, but didn't wish to get into the details, adding that it need to be careful and to give a chance for these negotiations to be successful.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is scheduled to visit Skopje, the capital of Macedonia on March 22 and hold talks with several government officials to discuss the name issue. The foreign ministers of both countries are also to meet with United Nations negotiator Mathew Nimetz in Vienna on March 30.
Zaev said that Kotzias' visit on Thursday was deemed very important. The Greek minister would be landing in the airport of Skopje, whose name had been changed from "Alexander the Great" into "Skopje Airport." It regarded as a way to show Macedonia's commitment to establish good relations and trust with the neighboring country since "Alexander the Great" was one of the ancient Greek kings who ruled northern Greece.
The two countries have been at odds with each other for around 26 years over the Former Yugoslav Republic's "Macedonia" name.
Macedonia is formally called Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) at the UN. Macedonia is also 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.
However, the current Macedonian government has repeatedly highlighted its will to resolve the name issue in an acceptable manner for both countries.