Greek Foreign Ministry issued demarche of complaint to North Macedonia over Spokesperson’s statements

The Greek Foreign Ministry immediately reacted to Wednesday inappropriate statements issued by North Macedonian Spokesperson Mile Bosnjakovski. The neighbouring country’s spokesperson replied a provocative question at a press conference in a rather undiplomatic manner. A journalist asked Mr. Bosnjakovski whether the Aegean Macedonians speak the Macedonian language. The North Macedonian Spokesperson replied that there is a specific category of citizens in Greece who do not speak the Greek language. Nonetheless the spokesman also recognised that Skopje cannot dictate what kind of language each citizen speaks in neighbouring states. This would signal direct intervention in the internal affairs of another country.

The spokesperson’s reply comes as a follow up to the recent statement by North Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov when asked about the presence of an ethnic Slavo-Macedonian minority in northern Greece in the aftermath of the Greek journalist’s story presented at BBC Channel. The neighbouring country’s minister had then replied that Athens and Skopje have agreed non-intervention to these internal matters and Skopje has to respect this commitment, which has also become part of the recently amended Constitutional provisions. The Foreign Minister’s reply was also complemented by a secondary statement on the question whether Northern Macedonia will support ethnic minorities of neighbouring countries which might attempt to claim their self-determination status. Mr. Dimitrov did not directly reply to the question but pinpointed to the provisions of the Prespes Agreement, denoting that Skopje will continue to implement the agreed clauses.

Athens Response

Athens immediately replied to North Macedonian Spokesperson’s statement. The Greek Foreign Ministry dispatched an official demarche of complaint to Skopje. The official demarche restated the provisions enshrined within the Prespes Agreement and invoked the recent statement by North Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov on the issue. The Greek government also reminded the neighbouring state that the issue was also discussed during the Deputy Foreign Minister Sia Anagnostopoulou’s visit at Skopje in previous days. During Mrs. Anagnostopoulou’s visit, the North Macedonian counterpart admitted that the Macedonian language is exclusively spoken within North Macedonia’s territory. Meanwhile, the Greek Macedonians have no linguistic, cultural or whatsoever ties to the particular language of South Slavonic origins.

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