“I feel happy and fortunate that I happened to be prime minister at a time when there was a significant political change in the neighbouring country, which gave Prime Minister Zaev and myself the opportunity to make a real and laborious effort to solve a problem going back decades,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday.
The prime minister made the statement in an interview with the Greek state broadcaster ERT on the agreement reached with the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the name issue.
Outlining the process, he said the two sides had made an effort to solve the issue with respect for each others’ values, dignity and key positions.
The agreement could be viable, Tsipras added, though the crucial issue at this time was whether the government in Skopje would succeed in meeting the conditions that it laid out. “We are creating a momentum to defeat the peddlers of patriotism on both sides,” he said.
Through the agreement, Tsipras noted, Greece was putting a stop to efforts to ?hijack? its history, while the deal did not recognise a “Macedonian nation” but only the right to self-determination, while showing respect for the identity that had been cultivated in Greece’s northern neighbour.
He also made it clear that the foreign ministries will only sign the agreement if it was ratified on both sides of the border.