The progress in the FYROM naming negotiations, which by all accounts are in the last stretch, topped the agenda for Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias’ talks with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, in Berlin today.
At a joint press conference, Kotzias said that the agreement with Skopje is being pursued not because FYROM wants to enter Nato and the EU, which Athens supports, but because it is in the national interest of Greece.
Kotzias said that he and his FYROM counterpart Nikola Dimitrov have concluded their negotiations, and that expert committees are hammering out details before PM Alexis Tsipras and FYROM PM Zoran Zaev take over, to seal the deal.
Maas said that Germany has no involvement in the negotiations, but when it has been called upon it attempted to intercede productively with one side or the other. Still, he said that Berlin has an interest in resolving the problem and promoting stability in the Western Balkans.
Key areas in bilateral ties, as well as developments in European and international politics were also on the agenda.
The talks came one day after Kotzias expressed optimism about reaching a FYROM naming settlement, and straight on the heels of a German foreign ministry statement urging both sides to seize an historic opportunity.
Yesterday, German foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Adebahr called on Athens and Skopje to resolve the final remaining issues.
Adebahr had said that today’s talks in Berlin would also focus on a Greek-German Bilateral Action Plan which was concluded in 2016, and bilateral ties, which from the German perspective are developing “very well”. Syria, Iran, and trans-Atlantic ties will also be discussed.
Yesterday, Kotzias was received by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.