Kotzias: FYROM not joining NATO in June due to time limitations

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias says Macedonia will not join NATO at the coming summit because of time limitations.

In an interview with radio 247, Kotzias says the country will not join NATO in June because the name agreement should be ratified in different ways, with April already in its second half.

“They want to schedule a referendum, which requires couple of months, namely June. Afterwards, the agreement should go to the Parliament, meaning another half or a whole month. This should be followed by constitutional changes, because a possible agreement requires this aspect. Therefore, autumn will come,” says Kotzias and adds that NATO decisions can, however, be taken by permanent representatives.

Regarding the name talks, the Greek FM says the identity is a self-determination issue, while the new name would be used for the nationality, meaning the country’s passports would read ‘national of (agreed name of country)’.

“Identity is an issue of self-determination. Let’s remember this, because we should not violate international law,” explained Kotzias.

He does not say if countries are close to an agreement over name ‘Upper Macedonia’, only that Nimetz’s proposal ‘Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)’ has been eliminated, adding that Greece has left it to its neighbor to choose the qualifier.

“We will not have any objections once there is a geographic qualifier, but this qualifier should be valid within the country too,” says Kotzias.

He says an agreement is impossible if there is no constitutional revision and a name for all uses.

“If there is no name for all uses, in international and bilateral relations, in international organizations, but also within the country, we are investing in quarrels and misunderstandings in the next century. This is what I am trying to explain to FYROM. Documents, licenses, diplomas will circulate internationally with the national name, we will say they violate the agreement and they will say that mistakes happen. These misunderstandings will be continual, create an impasse and worsen bilateral relations,” notes Kotzias.