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.

Zaev – Kotzias: It is time for decisions and a compromise acceptable to both sides

Skopje, 23 March, 2018 - 20:29 (META) 

Today, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who is currently on a two-day official visit to Macedonia.

Zaev said that this meeting coincides with an extremely positive moment in time, where long-lasting solutions for bilateral issues in the region are expected in the perspective of the European Union’s expectations.

“The focus of our talks must be the future between the two countries. We need to be decisive, and take steps that will lead us closer to a solution of the only open issue between our two nations. I am convinced that this approach will lead to a solution that will give plenty of acceptable views to the institutions in both countries, as well as the opposition, who will accept it as a dignified solution, both for the Republic of Macedonia and for the Republic of Greece”, said Prime Minister Zaev.

He stressed that during the process, both countries practice and nurture common European values, which is a shared way of building better bilateral relationships and relations of trust.

“We want to carry on improving bilateral relations, to nurture them and to make them even better after the name issue is resolved, because the citizens in our countries, our friends in the EU and the international community expect a solution to this issue,” Zaev said.

The Government’s office said that Kotzias emphasized that the present and the future require responsibility for solving the open issue.

“Minister Kotzias stressed that Greece, as a member of both NATO and the EU, and with the oldest democratic tradition in the region, has a great responsibility to resolve this issue, and that a compromise acceptable to both sides, must be found,” read the statement.

Dimitrov – Kotzias: An honest solution will take into account the positions of both sides

Skopje, 23 March, 2018 - 14:43 (META) 

After the bilateral meeting between the Macedonian and Greek delegations – the foreign ministers expressed good will for reaching a solution, as well as more reservations regarding the quick solution over the name issue. However, the two foreign ministers sent a joint message – that work must be done to overcome the problems and build a common future. Both sides sent out the message that the solution will only be found in a real compromise, in which both sides will receive the most important part of their demands.

“We had good discussions about the name differences. When talking about the future, it’s hard to find a difference. However, in order to get there we need to overcome the name difference. This task is not easy. It’s a very delicate balance. For half a day, I have been thinking what matters to the Greek public , and in the second half, I think about what is important for the Macedonian public. We are looking for a way that will not humiliate anyone, and will open the door for a solution”, said Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said he is in Skopje to open the second phase of consent and support for Macedonia’s entry into the EU.

“I deeply believe that we can and if we take steps we can solve the differences, and we are obliged to solve them, and it will give opportunity for the progress of both countries and development of the whole region”, said Kotzias, mentioning that the easiest part in politics is not to do anything.

He believes in an honest agreement from which the two sides will benefit and there will be no one who loses, but a compromise will be reached.

Asked about the “matching” of the three documents on the table (Greek, Macedonian and Nimetz), Kotzias said that “the texts are in order to clarify the positions, and in the end will make a joint text that Nimetz will deliver to UN “.

According to Dimitrov, a sustainable solution is one that will be accepted by both sides, both from the public and citizens.

“I honestly think this is a competition between the future and the past. We have a lot of history in the Balkans”, he said, stressing that “history is very important, but we can not change it.”

The Macedonian Foreign Minister has big reserves for the proposal “Upper Macedonia”, as a word and written in Cyrillic.

“I can find many arguments to explain why this is not a good direction. It’s hard for me to tell my own people about a complex name with some sort of title even if there is just one word. If it is pronounced quickly, the term Macedonia can disappear”, said Dimitrov.

To the question “what is an honest solution”, Kotzias said that “it is a solution that takes into account the main points of each side”.

Meetings between Kotzias and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi follow, as well as with leaders of DUI and VMRO-DPMNE, Ali Ahmeti and Hristijan Mickoski.

Kotzias greeted by protesters and banners outside the Foreign Ministry

Skopje, 23 March, 2018 - 14:26 (META) 

During a meeting between Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and his Greek counterpart, Nikos Kotzias, a group of citizens gathered in front of the Foreign Ministry.

They carried banners that were written in English, saying “Our name is Macedonia”, “Kotzias go home, you are not welcome in Macedonia”, “Stop the Holocaust against Macedonians” and “Stop Racism and Discrimination against Macedonians”.

After the meeting, Kotzias and Dimitrov are set to hold a joint press conference, after which the Greek Foreign Minister will meet with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani, and in Parliament they will meet with DUI leader Ali Ahmeti.

IMAG0153 protest MNR kodias protest MNR kodias