Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has underlined that he will make clear in talks in New York today with FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and UN mediator Matthew Nimetz that Athens is dedicated to reaching a settlement with Skopje, and he signaled that the ball is in FYROM’s court if it truly wants a solution.
Today’s meeting comes after Athens dismissed FYROM PM Zoran Zaev’s sudden proposal of a name that was not one of the five that Nimetz tabled, and that were the basis of negotiations for months.
The proposal essentially derailed the negotiating process for several days.
Zaev’s proposal of the name Ilinden Macedonia was indignantly rejected by Greek opposition parties as being entirely irredentist, as it refers to a 1903 revolt that eventually sought to place all of the geographic region of Macedonia within a single Slavic state.
After meeting UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York yesterday, Kotzias suggested he is adopting a wait-and-see approach. He said this round of talks may be only a single day, and not two days as initially planned.
Asked about Skopje’s assertions that talks are in the final stretch, Kotzias said that then all they need to do is demonstrate that at the negotiating table.
“I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but I have the will to reach a solution. The other side must also have the pragmatism and realism to find a solution. I know that many forces in both countries want a solution that is tailored to their wishes, but there are no such solutions in international affairs,” Kotzias said.
Kotzias noted that parallel to his negotiations with Dimitrov, a team of experts from both sides is hammering out the technical aspects of a settlement. They are drafting a list of legal issues that will arise from a settlement and reviewing ways to resolve them.