FYROM (Macedonia) hailed a “big step” towards resolving a quarter-century-old dispute with neighbour Greece on Tuesday over its name that has seen it blocked from NATO and European Union membership talks.

Two recent meetings between foreign ministers of the two countries in Athens and Skopje managed to “create friendly ties”, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev told reporters.

“It is not a solution but a big step was made” over the name dispute, he added.

“I am convinced that today we have better perspectives to resolve this delicate problem,” Zaev said on Tuesday.

Any solution prepared “together with the opposition” will be put a referendum, the prime minister added.

“The final decision will be on the citizens of Macedonia.”

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said during his visit to Skopje last week that his country would back Macedonia’s membership to both the EU and NATO as soon as the name row is resolved.