Greek FM Kotzias arrives in Skopje

The governmental plane carrying Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias landed Thursday at the Skopje Airport. It marks Kotzias’ first visit to Macedonia after the government renamed it into Skopje International Airport, seen as a concession in the name talks.

It is the first time in 12 years that a Greek aircraft has landed at the Skopje Airport.

Minister Kotzias was welcomed by a Macedonian delegation before having a working dinner with Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov ahead of his packed agenda on Friday.

He will meet with his Macedonian counterpart, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Deputy PM Bujar Osmani, Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi, and with political party leaders, namely Hristijan Mickoski of VMRO-DPMNE and Ali Ahmeti of DUI.

Kotzias will not hold talks with President Gjorge Ivanov as ‘it hasn’t even been requested by Greece,’ Ivanov’s office has said.

Talks will focus on discussing the positions of Skopje and Athens after the two administrations shared draft-agreements on settling the name issue. On Monday, Macedonian FM Dimitrov said the documents were different from each other.

Reporting about Kotzias’ visit, media in Greece have been saying that name negotiations entered a key stage after the exchange of draft-agreements. The most disputed matters between Athens and Skopje are Greece’s insistence on revision of Macedonia’s constitution, the scope of use of the new name, and the identity, too.

As previously reported by MIA, Macedonia has been reiterating that a dignified solution to the name issue should be reached that respects the identity and doesn’t require changes to the Constitution.

After the two-day talks in Skopje, FMs Dimitrov and Kotzias will meet again on March 30 in Vienna where they will be joined by UN mediator Matthew Nimetz