NEWS

Opposition leaders rap PM for lack of consensus in name talks

TAGS: Politics, Diplomacy

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held individual meetings with opposition party leaders on Saturday to discuss the state of negotiations with Skopje.

The discussions did not yield any significant signs of consensus between the politicians.

New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Tsipras of failing to consult properly before launching talks and to create a “strong national front,” thereby undermining an opportunity to reach a settlement with FYROM.

“Mr Tsipras chose to walk this road alone so he should not look for accomplices and alibis,” said the conservative leader, who suggested that Greeks have no confidence in Tsipras’s ability to negotiate on this, or any other, issue.

The prime minister’s office responded to Mitsotakis’s comments by accusing him of “irresponsibility and opportunism.”

PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata also criticized Tsipras for not reaching out to the other parties before launching talks. “Mr Tsipras entered into negotiations without even securing consensus within his own government,” she said in reference to the stance taken by Kammenos and ANEL.

Gennimata stressed that any solution must address any irredentist designs in FYROM and not just the country’s name. She repeated her call for a meeting of party leaders to be called for further discussions.

Greek Communist Party (KKE) leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas stressed the need for changes to be made to FYROM’s constitution to address concerns about irredentism. He said that a solution to the dispute with Skopje does not seem likely.

To Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis said it was “ridiculous” that the defense minister should have a different position to the prime minister on this issue.

He added that his party would support a solution that involves a composite name in Slavic for Greece’s neighbor. “There are many options that are better than ‘Upper Macedonia’,” he said.

United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz is due to visit Athens on Tuesday and Skopje the following day, and will hold discussions with both countries’ foreign ministers, Nikos Kotzias and Nikola Dimitrov.

Kotzias and Dimitrov are due to hold a bilateral meeting early in February.

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