Zaev revisits ethnic 'Macedonians', 'Macedonian language' issue in latest Prespa pact twist

Friday, 07 December 2018 13:04
UPD:13:07
REUTERS/OGNEN TEOFILOVSKI

The prime minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), Zoran Zaev, on Thursday continued to cause waves, as far as Athens is concerned, in the highly sensitive and politically-charged process towards ratifying the landmark agreement between his country and Greece to resolve the fYRoM "name issue".

In a Facebook post, Zaev referred to the ethnicity and language of the dominant ethnic group in the one-time Yugoslav constituent state - and independent country since 1991 - saying, "we're Macedonians and speak Macedonian, and no one can dispute this again".

His latest inflammatory statements, as viewed from south of the border, come days after he said the "Macedonian language" could be taught in Greece after the Prespa agreement is ratified, while referring to "ethnic Macedonians" in Greece and Bulgaria.

The very name "Macedonia", and its derivatives, is at the heart of the thorny dispute between the two neighbors, with successive Greek governments arguing that its use by the ex-Yugoslav state implies irredentism vis-a-vis the Greek province of Macedonia, which more closely approximates historical and geographical Macedonia.

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