Telephone conversation between Tsipras and Zaev: The Prespa Agreement is a priority

Athens, 18 October, 2018 - 13:18 (META) 

Prime ministers of Macedonia and Greece, Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras ha da telephone conversation after the resignation of the Greek minister of foreign affairs Nikos Kotsias.

The Greek government’s spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that both prime ministers have agreed that they shall continue to work on the full implementation of the Prespa Agreement.

-The prime minister is contacting regularly with Mr. Zaev. It is obvious that the neighboring country’s prime minister will not comment on Greece’s internal affairs and they have agreed upon, and have repeated what is known to everyone that both are working in favor of 21 century Balkans and they work on implementing the Prespa Agreement – said Tzanakopoulos in an interview for the Greek state broadcasting service “ERT.”

The web portal IN, informs that Tsipras has informed Zaev about the circumstances that have led to Kotsias’ resignation and that he will personally take over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the Macedonian prime minister has reported the situation in Macedonia regarding the voting at the parliament and the position of VMRO-DPMNE’s MPs.

Kotsias: There is no solution without the Prespa Agreement

Athens, 16 October, 2018 - 13:23 (META) 

There will not be any other solution without accepting the Prespa Agreement, stated the head of the Greek diplomacy Nikos Kotsias after the meeting of the EU’s Council for Foreign Affairs in Luxembourg and also said that even with a simplified elementary school maths it is not possible to reach a better agreement on each side, “as the hard-lined oppositions in both countries claim.”

As MIA’s correspondent from Athens reports, Kotsias has stated that yesterday’s meeting has started with issues related to Macedonia.

-I explained that Skopje has to understand that there is no solution without accepting the Prespa Agreement and that it is not possible for what both oppositions in Greece and FYROM state it will happen, that they can secure a better agreement, for each side, since this is not achievable and with simplified elementary school arithmetics -said the head of the Greek diplomacy

Kotzias: The agreement will be ratified and Greece will return its name back

Athens, 7 September, 2018 - 14:18 (META) 

The Agreement from Prespa will be brought by our government at the Parliament and will pass with the absolute majority, with over 150 MPs, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos KOtyias in an interview for the Greek radio “Real FM.”

He claimed that Greece has gained much more than our country which will have to make major changes, but even then it will all depend on Greece.

-Even though our neighboring country will hold a referendum, it is going to be making constitutional changes and it is going to change its name, it will still be dependent on Greece because without the Greek ratification of the Agreement from Prespa, it will not become a member of NATO – said Kotzias.

Talking about the position towards Macedonia he also spoke about Greece’s gain i.e. the country will no longer call itself Macedonia but North Macedonia and with it, the current government has brought the name back.

-Many of my colleagues said that they didn’t address the country as Macedonia in the last 15 years. Thanks to our government, this country will be addressed as North Macedonia even by the Americans. Unfortunately, three-thirds of the world have recognized our neighboring country as Macedonia and luckily with this agreement, it will become North Macedonia. Therefore we claim that we have brought the name back, even though we have not given it, as some have said – said the Head of the Greek diplomacy.

Addressing the disapproval from the coalition partner in the government, Panos Kammenos regarding the ratification of the Agreement, he said that it will not be an obstacle as it is well known how the decisions in the government are made.

Kotzias: Zaev chose a name, Greece will give the green light to the EU and NATO

Athens, 12 June, 2018 - 12:38 (META) 

Yesterday, Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said in an interview for the TV programe “Contra” that Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev chose which name he preferred from the three proposals by mediator Matthew Nimetz – North, Upper and New Macedonia, but Kotzias did not say specifically which name it was.

Today, Kotzias is expecting a telephone conversation between the prime ministers, regarding finalized negotiations and an agreement to be reached with which will result in both countries being winners.

“I think that today we have taken decisive steps and tomorrow the two prime ministers will meet and will finish the conversation that they started today”, said the Head of Greek diplomacy in the interview and explained that “the negotiations are not a straight line but a busy road with ups, downs and difficulties “, and therefore Kotzias said it takes patience and clarity.

Regarding the European and Euro-Atlantic perspective of Macedonia, Kotzias said that with a ratified agreement in the Macedonian Parliament, Greece will then give the green light to the EU’s Foreign Ministers Summit on 25 June, and if it goes according to plan, NATO will send an invitation concerning membership to our country.

Regarding NATO membership, he explained that the invitation is what can be given, as planned, if it is in line at the Summit on 11 and 12 of July, and he added that this invitation requires ratification from all member states.

Kotzias said that Macedonian language is not something that Greece can give or take, because it is something that has already been given by the UN, but also in accordance with ISO standards.

The Head of Greek diplomacy repeated several times that the agreement would clearly show that “the neighboring country has nothing to do with old and ancient Macedonia, and the language belongs to the Slavic group of languages.”

Dimitrov and Kotzias to meet in Thessaloniki tomorrow

Skopje, 2 May, 2018 - 10:52 (META) 

Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and his Greek counterpart, Nikos Kotzias, will meet tomorrow in Thessaloniki, where both will participate in a quadrilateral forum, which will be also attended by their counterparts from Bulgaria and Albania.

After the last meeting between Dimitrov and Kotzias in Vienna, mediator Matthew Nimitz, said the two sides remain committed to solving the problem without presenting details of the talks.

The Greek media reported that the “difficult questions”, ie the scope of the use of the name, would be agreed upon, and Athens’ request to change the Macedonian constitution.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev yesterday said that every meeting holds new creativity which brings closer the differences that exist between Macedonia and Greece.

“Sometimes it takes big steps, sometimes it takes micro-steps to remove the differences that exist. I hope that with each meeting will be help in that direction”, said Zaev.

Dimitrov, Kotzias and Nimetz to meet in Vienna today

Skopje, 25 April, 2018 - 11:02 (META) 

Foreign Minster of Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov will meet his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias in Viena today, along with Matthew Nimetz, mediator concerning the name negotiations on behalf of the UN.

As reported by the UN in New York, Nimitz will “assist both parties in finding a mutually acceptable solution regarding the name issue.”

Although yesterday, EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn expressed optimism that in the following two weeks the name issue could be resolved, Prime Minister Zoran

Zaev said he wished that the dispute regarding the name with Greece could be settled in two weeks time, but he does not believe it will happen.
After the Hahn statement, an official statement was issued by Athens in response. The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the EU Commissioner to stop giving a misleading picture regarding the negotiations, because he fails to understand such statements believing they undermine the negotiations.

Dimitrov, Kotzias and Nimetz to meet on Wednesday in Vienna

Skopje, 23 April, 2018 - 17:44 (META) 

Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov will meet with Foreign Minister of Greece Nikos Kotzias, along with UN mediator Matthew Nimetz, on April 25 (Wednesday afternoon) in Vienna, reports the MFA.

Last week, Kotzias, in an interview with Greek radio “24/7” regarding the talks and the points for which he was negotiating, said identity is a matter of self-determination, and for the nationality the new name will be used, ie the passports will be “a citizen to that and that country, a national of the name for which there is contract. ”

Government confirms that Dimitrov and Kotzias will meet at the end of the month

Skopje, 20 April, 2018 - 16:01 (META) 

Government spokesman Mile Bosnjakovski confirmed that a new meeting between the foreign ministers of Macedonia and Greece, Nikola Dimitrov and Nikos Kotzias will take place at the end of the month, but that the exact date has not yet been confrmed.

“There will be a new meeting by the end of the month, and the date still needs to be confirmed between the foreign ministers. We are still great optimists, as the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia have announced, we are looking for and expecting to find a solution that will be dignified for all citizens”, said Bosnjakovski at today’s press conference in Government.

Regarding the position of the Greek MFA that despite the EC recommendation for the start of negotiations, there is no time, the final decision is made by the EU Council where Greece can again block it if no solution to the name issue is found, said Bosnjakovski adding that the Council in the coming six months will need to confirm this, but everything else regarding the name talks continues with the set dynamics.

Kotzias: There is not enough time for Macedonia to become a NATO member by June

Athens, 18 April, 2018 - 17:12 (META) 

At the next NATO summit in July, Macedonia will not become a member because the time period is too short, said Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in an interview with the Greek radio “247”.

According to Kotzias, the agreement has to be ratified in various ways, and it is already April.

“They want to call a referendum. For a referendum in the friendly country in the north, they will need two months. It will be June by the time they finish a referendum. And once the referendum ends, the agreement will have to go to Parliament, and it takes about half a month or a month. After reaching Parliament, they will have to make constitutional changes. To reach an agreement, we will need to agree on constitutional changes. Which means it will be autumn”, explained the Greek Foreign Minister.

Regarding the talks and points that need to be negotiated, Kotzias said that identity is a matter of self-determination, and for the nationality of the country, the new name will be used, ie passports will be “a citizen of that and that country, a name for the citizens, which will be agreed upon.”

“Identity is a matter of self-determination. Let’s remember this, because we should not violate international laws”, Kotzias explained.

MIA’s correspondent in Athens said that he would not comment publicly whether the two sides are close to an agreement regarding the name “Upper Macedonia”. He said that out of Nimetz’s five proposals, the name “Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)” was rejected, and Greece has left Macedonia to choose the geographical heading.

“From the moment there is a complex geographical heading, we have no problem, but this complex geographical heading should be for the interior of the country”, said the Greek foreign minister.

Kotzias categorically responded “no” to the question whether without a revision of the Constitution and erga omnes, an agreement can be reached.

Kotzias – Dačić: A step forward in the Greece-Macedonia name negotiations

Belgrade, 11 April, 2018 - 23:49 (META) 

Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias, after meeting with his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dačić in Belgrade, said that the name dispute between Greece and Macedonia had taken a step forward, and that the key to resolving the problem was “realism, pragmatism and understanding that compromises need to be made”, reported the Serbian media.

“We need to make compromises, but not “rotten” compromises, those that will please both sides. A compromise means that both sides should realize that they can not get everything they want, but that they should benefit”, said the Greek foreign minister.

Kotzias added that he hopes the two sides in the negotiations will understand this and that there will be positive results.

Meanwhile, the Serbian foreign minister said that it would be most effective and beneficial for the talks to be conducted directly and that both sides should think of the common interest of the entire region. Dačić also stressed that Serbia understands Greece’s position and repeated its long-held view that it was a mistake that the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name, stressing that it was a “misguided and wrong step”.

“Skopje’s behavior towards Serbia and the Serbian national and state interest was not adequate. They recognized unilateral acts”, he said, referring to the recognition of Kosovo by the Republic of Macedonia.

According to Dačić, Serbia wants the name issue to be resolved, however it can not offer much help, except to offer the two parties a location to meet on occasion in Serbia.