The leftist-led government’s coalition partner, Independent Greeks (ANEL), will not back a solution to the ongoing name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) that contains the word “Macedonia,” a lawmaker for the right-wing nationalist party said on Tuesday.
Speaking on Skai TV, MP Dimitris Kammenos said the party remains staunchly opposed to any proposal containing the name Macedonia, as this may imply territorial claims over the Greek region, “even if the dispute is never resolved.”
“They’re the ones who want to join NATO and they’re the ones facing the risk of fragmentation,” said Kammenos, implying that Skopje has more to lose than Athens from the potential breakdown of talks launched in December by United Nations special envoy Matthew Nimetz.
“We have a historic responsibility, but the decision will be made by Parliament, not the prime minister and the government,” said Kammenos, responding to statements on Monday by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias suggesting that the government is optimistic of a solution and open to the idea of a composite name with a geographical qualifier.
“There is no deadline. This issue will not be resolved quickly and if it isn’t resolved at all, then no one stands to lose,” said Kammenos, who, it is noted, is no relation to ANEL leader Panos Kammenos.
“Independent Greeks will never reverse its position on national issues, nor on issues relating to the Church,” he added, underscoring the ideological distance separating the two government partners.