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Greece says 'still far' from a deal on Macedonia name row


REUTERS
ATHENS/BRUSSELS
GREECE said on Tuesday it was"far away"from resolving a decades-long dispute over Macedonia's name despite progress in talks between the two neighbours on a matter that could make or break Skopje's bid to join the European Union.
EU leaders will meet their six Balkan counterparts for a summit on Thursday, part of the bloc's renewed drive to bring the region closer and counter growing influence there from other powers.
EU leaders are then expected to decide in June whether to open membership negotiations with Macedonia (FYROM), as well as Albania, but Skopje would not be able to join over a Greek veto unless it solves the name dispute.
"In our continuing talks with our neighbours, there has been significant progress but we are still far away from concluding negotiations and reaching an agreement,"Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told a press briefing.
The row erupted in 1991 when Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia as it disintegrated.

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