ATHENS (AA) - Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met Wednesday with his Macedonian counterpart, Zoran Zaev, amid an ongoing debate between the two countries regarding Macedonia's official name.
The leaders met for almost three hours on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
"The Balkans has suffered a lot by nationalism and tensions,” Tsipras said during a joint news conference, adding that both countries are willing to resolve their differences responsibly and realistically.
"We don't want to only solve the name issue. We want to build the relations of our countries on sound foundations," he added.
Zaev said: “It is time to find a solution because it is essential for our prospect in NATO and the EU.”
"We want to be counterparts in the EU and allies in NATO,” he added.
Zaev said his administration is set to change the names of an airport and a highway leading to Greece.
They are currently called 'Alexander the Great', a name Greece says is an attempt to steal from Greek history.
The highway will be renamed “Friendship”, he said.
The debate about Macedonia's name has been ongoing for more than 25 years. Athens does not want its neighbor to have the name Macedonia because of the existence of a region in Greece with the same name.
It currently recognizes Macedonia as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the name Macedonia used to enter the UN in 1993.
The meeting comes only three days after the Greek city, Thessaloniki, saw a 100,000 demonstrators protest the name Macedonia.
Macedonia wants to join NATO but it needs to resolve the name issue with Greece before integration talks can officially begin.