New York (ANA-MPA/ P. Panagiotou) In a meeting with the foreign minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Nikola Popovski here on Saturday, government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos stressed that Greece’s position has not changed and that Athens now expected Skopje to take steps toward resolving the name dispute between the two countries. The two ministers met on the sidelines of the 69th UN General Assembly.
Diplomatic sources based at the UN said that Venizelos pointed to statements and actions on FYROM’s part, which did not help cultivate a climate of trust and relations of good neighbourhood.
Regarding the name dispute, the same sources said, Venizelos told Popovski that Skopje should not expect support from European capitals or elsewhere since the international community was well aware that the authorities in Skopje must now make decisions to move forward in good faith and with a desire to compromise at the appropriate steps so that the differences might be resolved.
The two men also discussed energy issues, with Popovski asking the Greek minister to confirm that Greece was positively disposed to linking the TransAdriatic Pipeline (TAP) to FYROM’s gas network. Venizelos replied that everything he told FYROM Premier Nikola Gruevski during his visit to Skopje in the framework of Greece’s EU presidency continues to apply absolutely and the two countries can proceed irrespective of the outstanding dispute over the name, adding that meetings must be held between the respective energy ministers in both countries to discuss the technical details.