New York.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday that FYROM has agreed to be called Severna Makedonija (“Republic of North Macedonia”) as part of an agreement to settle the name dispute between the two nations.
“I am deeply convinced that this agreement will be a diplomatic victory and also a large historic opportunity,” he said
If FYROM does not make the necessary changes to its constitution, as foreseen in the deal, then this will cancel the invitation to join the NATO military alliance and start enduction talks with the European Union, added Tsipras.
In a televised address, Tsipras said the 140 countries which had recognized the Balkan state simply as Macedonia would now recognize it as Republic of Northern Macedonia.
“This achieves a clear distinction between Greek Macedonia and our northern neighbors and puts an end to the irredentism which their current constitutional name implies,” he said.
He added that FYROM “cannot and will not be able in the future to claim any connection with the ancient Greek civilization of Macedonia.”
On the timeline of the deal, Tsipras said that it would be first signed by the two countries’ foreign ministers and then ratified by FYROM’s parliament.
Greece will then back invitations for FYROM to join NATO and start negotiations on joining the EU. However, Tsipras said, this will be contingent on FYROM completing the constitutional changes.
“In other words, if the constitutional amendment is not successfully completed, then the invitation to join NATO will be automatically rescinded and the accession talks with the European Union will not start,” he said.
Earlier, Prime Minister Tsipras briefed the Presiednt of the Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos.
“It is clear that the responsibility for whether our neighboring country means to observe the terms we have set or not lies with it,” Pavlopoulos told Tsipras.
“It is up to FYROM to implement the terms it committed to on a constitutional level as well,” the president noted.
Among other things, Pavlopoulos said that respect of history by the neighboring country will serve as a passport to its future, and he thanked Tsipras for maintaining parliamentary order on national issues, that is, informing the president and then briefing the political party leaders on the agreement.
REACTIONS IN SKOPJE
Speaking at a news conference in FYROM’s capital, Skopje, Zaev described the deal as a “historic agreement of the century.”
“We have been solving a two-and-a-half decade dispute … that has been drowning the country,” he said, adding that the deal “will strengthen the Macedonian identity.”
In Skopje, meanwhile, FYROM President Gjorge Ivanov said earlier in the day that he remained opposed to writing the new name into the constitution, a move intended to show the change is permanent and binding for domestic and international use.
The main opposition party in FYROM, the conservative VMRO-DPMNE, accused Zaev of “capitulating” to Greece.
“In essence, the (deal) is acceptance of all Greek positions,” VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski said.
MITSOTAKIS: A BAD DEAL
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Tuesday an agreement reached by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his FYROM peer settling a name dispute between the two nations is a “bad deal”
“I want to be absolutely clear. Tsipras does not have the political legitimacy to bind this this country by signing an agreement that does not have the support of his own government, ” said Mitsotakis.
“The solution agreed upon is a bad deal. It is in contrast to what the majority of Greeks want. Some people do not understand this, or even worse, they do not want to understand it,” he added.
The ND leader will meet with President Prokopios Pavlopoulos on Wednesday at 9:30 to discuss the latest developments on the FYROM name issue.
UN SG ANTONIO GUTERRES
With reference to the talks between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Secretary-General welcomes the agreement settling the difference between the sides described in the United Nations Security Council resolutions 817 (1993) and 845 (1993). He commends the parties for their determination to bring this long-standing dispute to an end, in a demonstration of leadership to the wider region and beyond. He congratulates all who participated constructively in the efforts that led to the agreement. He wishes to pay tribute to his Personal Envoy, Mr. Matthew Nimetz, who embodied the values of perseverance, patience and quiet diplomacy in facilitating this historic agreement over many years.
The Secretary-General urges all citizens in both countries to come together to move the process forward. He reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to provide all necessary support, both through his Personal Envoy and through the relevant UN agencies, funds and programmes.
The Secretary-General is convinced that the resolution of this long-standing dispute will have positive repercussions in Europe and beyond and hopes that parties to other protracted conflicts may be inspired by this development to work towards negotiated settlements without further delay.
UN Special Envoy on the name issue Matthew Nimetz warmly welcomed the agreement between Greece and FYROM on Tuesday, and called the decision “a mutually beneficial solution for the broader region.”
“I warmly welcome the announcement by Prime Ministers (Alexis) Tsipras and (Zoran) Zaev on finding a mutually acceptable solution to the “name” issue,” he said in a statement. “I would like to congratulate the parties for reaching a successful conclusion to the talks and for resolving the difference between them,” he added.
The special envoy also expressed the certainty that the agreement “will lead to a period of enhanced relations between the two neighbouring countries and especially between their people,” and said he was “encouraged by the dedication of both governments to deliver mutual benefits for all their citizens through the establishment of a strategic partnership as a basis for intensified cooperation across all sectors.”
In reviewing his role, Nimetz said he was honored to have served as facilitator between the two parties and he expressed his appreciation to the UN Secreatary General for his unwavering support and deep interest. He also mentioned his predecessor, the late Cyrus Vance, for his lasting contribution to peace in the region.
“Above all, I want to congratulate and commend the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers (Nikola) Dimitrov and (Nikos) Kotzias, who have demonstrated leadership, vision and determination in the negotiating process and never faltered in their efforts to reach a mutually beneficial solution for their own nation but also for the broader region,” he concluded.
June 12, 2018
The United States congratulates Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev and welcomes the historic agreement to resolve the name dispute. This resolution will benefit both countries and bolster regional security and prosperity. Prime Ministers Zaev and Tsipras demonstrated vision, courage, and persistence in their pursuit of a mutually acceptable solution. We also commend the commitment of UN mediator Matthew Nimetz for his steadfast efforts over more than two decades to end this dispute.
We stand ready to support this agreement, as requested by the two countries.
EU’s Mogherini, Hahn
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn congratulated Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev for reaching agreement, and said it “contributes to the transformation of the entire region of South-East Europe.”
The agreement, they said, provides a “window of opportunity that has been pushed wide open to accompany and consolidate the winds of peace and cooperation in the entire region.”
Mogherini and Hahn added that they “now look forward to the Council endorsing our recommendation of 17 April to open accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in June.” They said “this is not only merited, in recognition of the considerable reform results of the country, but it will contribute crucially to the full implementation of the agreement in the interest of both countries, of the region and of our Union as a whole.”
The two officials added that the EU “encouraged and supported the negotiations from their very beginning” and pledged support for the next steps.
NATO Secretary General
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the agreement between Athens and Skopje on the name issue, and said it “will set Skopje on its path to NATO membership.”
“This historic agreement is testament to many years of patient diplomacy, and to the willingness of these two leaders to solve a dispute which has affected the region for too long,” Stoltenberg said in a brief statement.
He called on both countries to finalize the agreement reached by the two prime ministers, adding, “This will set Skopje on its path to NATO membership. And it will help to consolidate peace and stability across the wider Western Balkans.”