Macedonian PM grateful for Hungary's support of Macedonia's EU, NATO ambitions

Baku-APA Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on Wednesday voiced his gratitude to Hungary for its support of Macedonia's European Union (EU) and NATO ambitions, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Gruevski made the remarks at a news conference held here jointly with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban.

Gruevski said his country had met all EU accession conditions and was ready to negotiate the entry, but was being held back because of a dispute with Greece, essentially over his country's name.

The Balkans could not become a stable region until Macedonia had been admitted to the EU and NATO and Hungary is committed to stability in Southeast Europe, Orban said at the news conference.

He agreed with Gruevski that resolution of Macedonia's name dispute with Greece should not be a prerequisite for starting EU accession talks.

The dispute had to be resolved, he said, but he suggested that resolution should become part of the EU negotiations rather than a condition for getting them going.

Macedonia has been an EU candidate since 2005, but the EU Council has not yet set a date for opening accession talks.

The country's EU aspirations have been blocked by Greece, which says that the name of Macedonia implies territorial claims against its northern province bearing the same name.

Greece also vetoed Macedonia's admission to NATO in 2008.

On bilateral ties between Hungary and Macedonia, Orban said there were significant untapped opportunities for economic cooperation. The two sides were setting up a joint economic commission, which will meet in January next year, he added.

Gruevski also had meetings with Hungarian President Janos Ader and Speaker of Parliament Laszlo Kover.

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