SKOPJE, Macedonia — Macedonia’s left-wing prime minister said he is ready to renounce his country’s claim to be the sole heirs of the legacy of Alexander the Great to help solve a 26-year-old dispute with neighboring Greece over the country’s name.

“I give up (the claim) of Macedonia being the sole heir to Alexander. The history belongs not only to us, but also to Greece and many other countries,” Zoran Zaev, in power since the spring, said in an interview to TV station Telma late Friday.

Since its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia has claimed at least part of the heritage of the most famous ruler of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia, infuriating Greeks who also view the name “Macedonia” itself as hiding expansionist claims against the Greek region of Macedonia.

In 2008, Greece blocked Macedonia’s bid to join NATO under its provisional name of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as a result.

The former conservative government has named the country’s main highway and airport by the ancient hero’s and has erected a 28-meter (90-foot) high monument at the main square in Macedonia’s capital.

Zaev didn’t say whether his government would rename the highway and the airport or remove the monument.

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KONSTANTIN TESTORIDES
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