Under the title ‘If there is an opportunity for a solution, it would be a national stupidity not to make good use of it’ Sunday’s edition of the Greek newspaper Ethnos conveys an interview of Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras related to Athens-Skopje name dispute, MIA reports from Athens.
‘The solution would mean a mutually acceptable, compound name for overall use (erga omnes). The overall use means (the country) cannot be referred to by one name in our bilateral relations and at the United Nations, while its constitutional name will be different. In regard to the EU, NATO membership everything is clear. The neighboring country’s NATO membership or commencing of its EU accession talks will be possible only if there is a solution to the name issue,’ Tsipras says.
However, Tsipras says he understands ‘the concerns and sensitivities’ of the Greeks of the north, commenting today’s protests in Thessaloniki. But, he says, the national interests cannot be defended with protests, but a negotiating skill, international alliances, set goals and pragmatism.
‘For the last 25 years many countries recognized our neighbor under the name Republic of Macedonia. We have been making efforts across the globe for all states to refer to the country by fyROM, namely to use the compound name that includes the term Macedonia, but it has no qualifier to prevent any attempt for usurping the geography and history. So If there is an opportunity for a solution, it would be a national stupidity not to make good use of it,’ Tsipras says.
He once again notifies that the name dispute is European, international issue, saying that irredentism is the main concern of official Athens.
‘If we wish for a sustainable solution, we should seek for a name, but also for a broader frame for an agreement, which will leave no room for irredentism and false historic claims. Both parties should approach the problem with common sense and wisdom. We must leave no room for confrontations between the two nations, as there is more that unite than divide them,’ Tsipras says.
He is certain that the majority of Greek lawmakers will embrace a solution to the name issue in favor of their country’s national interest.