In what was seen as an unusual political move, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met on Thursday with Greek Archbishop Ieronymos to discuss the ongoing negotiations in the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) before the government briefed the country’s political party leadership on the latest developments.
The meeting took place at the Archbishopric in Athens after Tsipras received a briefing by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on the results so far of the talks that resumed on Wednesday in New York in the presence of United Nations special mediator Matthew Nimitz.
A close aide justified the premier’s decision to speak with the Archbishop before party leaders saying that “we inform anyone who asks us.”
The aide added that the two men had exchanged letters on the name dispute before their meeting and that they are in regular contact.
For his part, Kotzias refused, as he left his meeting with Tsipras at the Maximos Mansion, to comment on rampant media speculation in Skopje about the contents of the name proposal submitted to Greek negotiator Adamantios Vasilakis and his opposite number Vasko Naumovski.
According to a report published in the Skopje-based website, www.MKD.mk, Nimetz placed five name proposals on the table – Republika Nova Makedonija (Republic of New Macedonia), Republika Gorna Makedonija (Republic of Upper Macedonia), Republika Severna Makedonija (Republic of Northern Macedonia), Republika Vardarska Makedonija (Republic of Vardarska Macedonia) and Republika Makedonija (Skopje).