The right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL), which is the junior party in the coalition government led by leftist SYRIZA, appeared on Monday to dampen optimism generated by the revival of United Nations-sponsored talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the lingering name dispute between the two states.
Speaking from the Dalipi military camp in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, ANEL leader Panos Kammenos said his party will not consent to a name that includes the term “Macedonia.”
Kammenos, who is also defense minister, said that during a meeting of Greek political party leaders under then president Constantine Karamanlis in 1992, it had been agreed that the use of the word “Macedonia” was a nonstarter for Greece. Deciding otherwise would require a fresh meeting under the current president, he added.
However, in 2007, in what was seen as a big compromise, Greece announced it would consent to use of the word “Macedonia” in a composite name.
Opposition from ANEL would mean that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s SYRIZA would have to rely on other parties in the case of a parliamentary vote on the issue.
In a separate development, officials in Athens welcomed a decision by the Albanian government to implement a previous agreement to build cemeteries for hundreds of Greek soldiers killed on Albanian soil during the 1940-41 Greek-Italian war.