Greek FM Kotzias: Name dispute must be settled by compromise

Skopje-Athens name dispute must be settled with a compromise, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias says in an interview with the state-owned ERT (Hellenic Radio-Television).

‘It is necessary for fyRoM to demonstrate a culture of consensus and compromise, which means neither we nor them could get everything. We must come to a compromise that is acceptable for both parties and one that will stand the test of time,’ Kotzias says.

He refuses to share details about the name negotiations, commending the fact that neither UN mediator Matthew Nimetz nor Skopje put own proposal on the table. He also reaffirms the stance that Greece’s northern neighbor cannot join NATO under the provisional name.

Asked to comment ANEL leader Panos Kammenos’ statement that his party will not accept a name that includes the term ‘Macedonia’ and whether such stance will affect the name negotiations, Kotzias says everybody is entitled to own opinion, but a possible agreement on the name ‘requires a parliament majority, not a majority of parties.’

‘We are a government that is here to resolve matters. If the way we make our decisions are in line with the country’s, region’s long-term interests and European spirit, we should do that,’ Kotzias says.

He reiterates his stance that that it would be good for the name issue to be settled in the first half of 2018, as more favorable conditions are in place for reaching a mutually acceptable solution. There is no reason to delay the solution, Kotzias says, adding that it is up to Greece’s government to find a window of opportunity for settling the matter, as the country must not be held hostage by the past.

‘Those who criticize us for wishing to solve the problem must realize that it would have been much better for the country if it was done back in 1992. Those who call us to account are the same one who failed to take their historic responsibility to solve the issue due to their indecisiveness,’ Kotzias says.