PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Macedonia's prime minister reiterated his will on Tuesday to reach a solution with Greece following more than two decades of disputes over his country's name.
Zoran Zaev said Macedonian and Greek officials were working "to reconfirm their will of resuming essential talks ... to reach a solution."
Zaev, in power since spring, has vowed to improve relations with Greece, which has opposed Macedonia's name since it declared it and won recognition by the United Nations after Yugoslavia's breakup in 1991.
Greece says Macedonia's name harbors territorial pretensions on Greece's northern province of the same name. Greece blocked Macedonia from joining NATO in 2008 under its provisional name.
In Kosovo on the first-ever visit by a Macedonian prime minister to its neighbor, Zaev also vowed to warm ties there.
He said Skopje would acquiesce to Kosovar demands for a new, international investigation into a 2015 attack by militants from Kosovo in the northern Macedonian town of Kumanovo.
Eight police officers and 10 militants were killed in fighting that was hotly disputed by both sides and was the worst outbreak of violence in Macedonia since a nine-month insurgency by fighters from its Kosovar minority in 2001.
"Such an issue is in the interest of our cooperation and that should not remain an obstacle to our ties," Zaev said at a news conference with his host counterpart Ramush Haradinaj.
Macedonia has a large ethnic Albanian minority — which is the main single ethnic group in neighboring Kosovo and also Albania — that regularly plays an important part in creating governing coalitions.
"We share the same aspirations for membership into the European Union and NATO because the future of the whole Western Balkans is in EU and NATO," said Zaev.
Associated Press writer Llazar Semini contributed from Tirana, Albania.
Follow Semini on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lsemini