New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis and former socialist Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos have rejected “Republic of Ilinden Macedonia” as a candidate name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as irredentist.
Mitsotakis was informed on the phone by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that the name was discussed with FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in Sofia on Friday.
According to New Democracy sources the term Ilinden is linked historically and directly with efforts to create a “Macedonian” nation which includes Thessaloniki and extends to the Aegean.
For his part, Venizelos told Parliament that the name is the “epitome of irredentism.”
Ilinden refers to an anti-Nazi uprising in the Balkans in 1944 which, however, sought to unify the geographic area of Macedonia, including parts of Greece.
Tsipras reportedly told Zaev that the new name proposal needs some time to be processed and stressed the need to keep expectations low.
He also said that that the two sides “have covered a great part of the distance,” but there was “more to cover.”