The government and the main conservative opposition New Democracy party clashed Thursday over the progress of United Nations-mediated talks aimed at breaking a deadlock between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over the latter’s name.
The Foreign Ministry called on ND to “finally display a serious and responsible stance when it comes to dealing with issues of major national importance.”
Critical statements by ND about the government’s handling the issue “do not reflect the true state of affairs” and are “clearly aimed at serving party interests,” the ministry said.
It was responding to comments by ND’s shadow foreign minister, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, who claimed that a briefing on Wednesday with Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias only served to “intensify our concerns.”
According to the ministry, Koumoutsakos “did not express any reservations or concerns during the briefing, which lasted for more than two hours, and only made constructive comments.”
Kotzias briefed party leaders on his talks last week in Vienna with his FYROM counterpart Nikola Dimitrov. He saw Koumoutsakos instead of ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who boycotted the meeting, objecting to a split within the ruling coalition over how to handle the name talks.
Kotzias is to meet again with Dimitrov for further negotiations next week. Despite progress in the talks, differences remain.
Athens wants the name solution to be “erga omnes,” namely for general use at home and abroad. It also wants changes to parts of FYROM’s constitution deemed irredentist.