Zaev and Tsipras: We are building bridges – opponents to the agreement will see the benefits


Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras, at a press conference projected a joint message that with the Prespa Agreement, both Greece and North Macedonia will benefit both the citizens and future generations, and that opponents of the agreement will in time, see all the benefits. They said the current political leadership is committed to building bridges and demolishing walls, that is, to continue to build string co-operation. Tspiras also spoke about the issue of disinformation of the Prespa Agreement.

The two prime ministers revealed that today a High Council for Cooperation of the two countries was founded. At the first meeting a series of agreements was signed, for better cooperation in different areas, as well as for opening a new border crossing in Majden Kavadarci. By mid-May, the latest, a joint commission will be formed to deal with the issue of using the name Macedonia in trademarks.

Responding to a journalist’s question, Prime Minister Tsipras also said that Greece would not insist on removing the monuments which were raised in the past ten years, but only if with appropriate signs, it was explained that they symbolize ancient Greek heritage.

“The Prespa Agreement is in full implementation and it allows the two countries to fully exploit the capacities of the political and economic plan. Today, we held a meeting of the High Council for Cooperation between the two countries, with myself and Tsipras and signed the Action Plan for the agreements signed by the ministers. A working group for brands should be formed by mid-May, while today, we signed agreements for transport memorandums, energy projects, digitalization, cross-border cooperation and healthcare. I am convinced that this visit and our commitment to strengthening friendly relations will be recognized as a strong sign for the region”, said Zaev.

Later, answering a journalist’s question, he explained that since the signing of the Prespa Agreement, the country’s trade with Greece increased significantly by 20.7 percent.

The Greek prime minister clarified that three decades had been lost with opportunities for co-operation, and both countries now want to make up for the lost time.

“We need to move from a history of disputes, which as children we knew it as a synonym for the Balkans … Let’s change that narrative of national hatred. We are trying to build co-operation, mutual understanding and joint progress. This will not just be a success for North Macedonia and Greece, but for the entire Balkans”, Tsipras said.

The Greek prime minister clarified that his country envisioned a 100 million euro budget for investments in the Balkans, many of which are intended for North Macedonia.

Tsipras noted that a major modulation on the rail link between Thessaloniki and Belgrade would be put forward.

The Greek Prime Minister said that in the past months, since the implementation of the agreement the problem of fake news had become noticeable.

“In the past months, while we were very constructive in building relationships, we dealt with the issue of fake news. In Greece, suddenly, it was being said that the Prespa Agreement would create problems. However, those problems were being created for 30 years and the agreement actually resolves them”,  said the Greek prime minister.

On to questions by journalists regarding the monuments, Tsipras said that the proper labeling of the monuments would put an end to the arguments put forward by all opponents of the Agreement and that Greece, as a world culture, with appropriately labelled monuments, will be present in the country.

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