Greek PM echoes foreign ministry position: 'Window of opportunity' to solve fYRoM 'name issue'

Friday, 05 January 2018 12:09
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras this week echoed his foreign ministry's leitmotif of a "window of opportunity" for solving the obscure - internationally - but thorny "name issue" still preventing a full normalization of relations between Greece and its land-locked northern neighbor, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM).

"The time has come to take necessary decisions," he was quoted as saying, in a published interview in a low-circulation Athens daily "Nea Selida".

"I am confident that the time has come to take necessary decisions, so that we can justify Greece's role as a leader in the Balkans, and as a foundation of stability in the wider region," he said.

The leftist-rightist coalition government is promoting a "name solution" based on a 2008 landmark decision by a council of political leaders in Greece at the time - with center-right leader Costas Karamanlis as prime minister - supporting a composite name with a geographic qualifier before the name "Macedonia" for the neighboring country. That name would be used in all instances and fora, i.e. erga omnes.

Although official Athens' position remains more-or-less solid since 2008, the change of government in Skopje last year, which brought forth a coalition led by social democrat Zoran Zaev to power, marked a turning point in jumpstarting bilateral relations with view towards a resumption of substantive negotiations over the "name issue".

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