PM Zaev: Macedonia wants name solution but not at any price

I see no need for us to change the Constitution, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Thursday when asked whether the process of solving the name dispute involved the possibility of changing the Constitution.

“In the name talks, the demand to change the Constitution is a position of Greece, but we have our own. Macedonia had changed its Constitution in 1993 by incorporating Amendment 2 into Article 49. We have made a major step to remove irredentism. Everything we do now is to prove that Macedonia has no ambitions whatsoever, be it territorial or anything else, that Macedonia has no irredentistic claims. Macedonia wants to build friendship,” stated Zaev.

Any name solution, he reiterated, must guarantee the identity and dignity of both parties, there’s no dilemma.

“Yesterday, I said a geographical qualifier is acceptable for the government. It is based on my expectations from the internal debate ongoing in Macedonia, on the steps being made, on how far we can go, on the application of any possible solution, etc. We stick to our position that the dignity and identity are vital issues. I’m confident that Macedonia can find a solution through a consensus in the interest of its perspective for membership in NATO and the EU,” PM Zaev noted.

He said he was confident that it could be achieved by the state institutions, the political stakeholders – with joined forces of the government and the opposition.

“Trust me, we absolutely know what is possible, what is acceptable and how far we can go. We will do everything we can to find a solution to the 25-year bitter dispute, but not at any price,” Zaev stressed.

Asked to comment on what had been announced by the Greek Foreign Minister about the preparation of a draft of an international agreement, Premier Zaev said Macedonia was prepared to seize every opportunity leading to a solution because the dispute should be closed by reaching an international agreement.

“I welcome the idea, it can prove to be helpful,” Zaev told the news conference.

The Macedonian Premier said the negotiating process would continue next week with a meeting of UN mediator Matthew Nimetz with the foreign ministers of Macedonia and Greece.