Macedonia sees hope for end to name dispute with Greece

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia's deputy prime minister has expressed optimism over renewed efforts to resolve a decades-long dispute with neighboring Greece over the Balkan country's name that has kept it out of NATO.

Bujar Osmani, Macedonia's deputy prime minister in charge of European integration, told The Associated Press on Thursday that both countries were committed to finding an "acceptable solution" to the name issue, noting the "general feeling of fatigue" over the 25-year dispute.

Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. But Greece says the republic's name implies a territorial claim to its historic Macedonia region and advocates a so-called "composite name" solution.

Greece, a NATO member, blocked Macedonia's membership.

Osmani met with Greek officials in Athens this week. The two governments said they hoped to have the disagreement resolved by summer.