Former prime minister Costas Simitis is warning against the effects of national populism in addressing Greece’s differences with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and expresses the belief that the current confluence of events is favourable for a settlement with Greece’s northern neighbor, as long as negotiations are handled prudently, in a statement that he issued today, even as UN Special Representative Matthew Nimetz holding talks with Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.
The former PM’s statement is as follows:
“A precondition for Greece’s prosperity is its good communication with its Balkan milieu. This is what history shows us. The national interest, consequently, mandates a solution to the pending issue, which weighs upon our relations with FYROM. This conjuncture opens the possibility of success, as long as there is a serious and responsible negotiation, based on the Interim Agreement. We must confront national populism with political will, responsibility, and conscientious patriotism.”
The 1995 Interim Agreement regulated the framework of Athens-Skopje relations and determined that the country would be known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, pending a comprehensive bilateral settlement.