The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has no irredentist claims against Greece, the Balkan state’s foreign minister, Nikola Dimitrov, has told Kathimerini, adding however, that “Macedonian” identity exists on both sides of the border between the two countries.
“Claims to exclusivity belong to the category of zero-sum games which in the past have only been a source of divisions and distractions in our region and beyond,” Dimitrov said. “When a neighbor from Greek Macedonia says she or he is a Macedonian – regionally, historically or culturally – does that threaten me? I don’t think so,” he said. “When I say I am Macedonian, should that threaten my neighbor? In Europe, in the 21st century? I don’t think so.”
Claiming that FYROM “discarded irredentism formally within the constitution a long time ago,” Dimitrov said the country is committed to sticking to its international obligations. “The only greater map we are interested in is the map of a greater EU,” he said, noting that FYROM citizens would not appreciate “maps of other countries taking parts of our territory” much as Greeks would probably dislike “vetoes blocking the progress of their country by their much bigger and more powerful neighbor.”
Asked about potential progress in talks over FYROM’s name, Dimitrov struck an upbeat tone. “Together, we are actively building an atmosphere of friendliness, and an open and frank way of communicating and understanding each other’s positions.”