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Skopje hopes new Greek government can unblock name row

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(SKOPJE) - Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki said Thursday that he hoped that Greece's new government will end a stalemate in solving a decades-long name row between the two neighbours.

"I think that there is a possibility the new Greek government of national unity (...) could accept a process of unblocking the name issue," Poposki told journalists.

He added he was hoping for "greater cooperation" from Athens in solving the row that has seen Greece barring Macedonia from the European Union and NATO.

Athens alleges that use of the name Macedonia suggests a territorial claim to the northern Greek province of the same name while Skopje maintains that changing the name would be a denial of its own national identity and language.

In 2008 Greece blocked Macedonia's NATO invitation and one year later prevented the EU from starting accession talks with Skopje despite recommendations from the European Commission.

Greece named Lucas Papademos as prime minister of an interim government Thursday to ensure the quick ratification of a critical EU bailout deal to unlock loans that will save Greece from bankruptcy next month. The government is due to be sworn in Friday.

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