“We did not give anything in exchange for something else, we made the best deal for the country,” Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Tuesday, talking about the Athens-Skopje agreement to resolve the name dispute.
Most people understood that a problem with Skopje has been resolved, he noted, although some were “confused” regarding the history of ancient Greece and the geography of Macedonia.
For the first time an Athens-Skopje agreement definitively and irrevocably separated ancient Greek civilization, he said and expressed his certainty that “the agreement will pass in the Greek parliament.”
The main risk was being taken by Skopje, he added, while noting that the country’s course to the EU and NATO will be blocked if they do not meet the conditions of the agreement. “If the Constitutional change does not proceed, it will be over,” he said.
The foreign minister also underlined that “the agreement takes into account our own interests,” adding that in Greece “we have underestimated the fact that this country is changing its name.”
He stressed that during the negotiations, “we wanted to get a name and real erga omnes, for all uses” that would lead to a constitutional change and a drastic and binding reduction of irredentism in FYROM.
Regarding the statues on Greek themes erected in the neighbouring country, he revealed that Skopje was already planning to remove some of these or give them to Greece, while the remainder will have special plaques with references to Greek history.