ATHENS, Greece — Greece is promising Macedonia’s new government closer ties but insists a decades-old name dispute should be resolved before it would back future membership of NATO and the European Union.
Athens has blocked membership efforts, arguing that its neighbor’s name implies a territorial threat to its own region of Macedonia.
But hopes of a resolution have been raised after Social Democrat Prime Minister Zoran Zaev formed a government two weeks ago, following moths of political crisis.
On Wednesday, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov traveled to Athens to meet Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias.
Macedonia, fearing a flare up in ethnic disputes in the region, is seeking swift NATO membership. Dimitrov described the Athens meeting as a “good start.”