Greece & Macedonia still ‘far away’ from deal on name dispute

Greece said Tuesday it was “far away” from resolving a decades-long dispute over Macedonia’s name, despite progress in talks between the two neighbors. Greece refuses to recognize the country under the name Macedonia, saying this implies a territorial claim on a northern Greek region of the same name. Athens has also blocked Macedonia’s efforts to join NATO and the European Union. “We are still far away from concluding negotiations and reaching an agreement,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said. The prime ministers of Greece and Macedonia are expected to meet in neighboring Bulgaria on Thursday on the sidelines of an EU-Western Balkans summit, Reuters said. Athens and Skopje decided last year to renew their efforts to try to reach a settlement well before the summer.