Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Sunday issued a stern statement accusing New Democracy leader of being irresponsible and unserious when it comes to matters of foreign policy following the opposition leader's criticism of the government's concessions in the Macedonia name deal with Skopje.
"He refuses to treat issues of foreign policy with due seriousness," Kotzias said, noting that he see it as "an area for public relations."
Referring to Mitsotakis's criticism of the name deal -- which granted Skopje the so-called Macedonian language and ethnicity -- Kotzias said the ND leader "does not grasp" matters of foreign policy, noting that the "Macedonian language was first recognized by the ministers of ERE in the '50s and then officially delivered by New Democracy in 1977 ," he said, referring to the National Radical Union party formed by Constantinos Karamanlis.
Kotzias also accused ND of attempting "extortion" at the National Council on Foreign Policy, a cross-party organ that had discussed possible compromises to the name dispute.
Kotzias's full statement follows:
With his statements, Mr. K. Mitsotakis confirms the reasons behind his refusal to be briefed in person by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in contrast to what was customary practice for previous heads of the Opposition.
He refuses to treat issues of foreign policy with due seriousness; he insists to perceive it as an area for public relations.
Mr. Mitsotakis does not grasp, is not knowledgeable and is not in a position to tackle issues of foreign policy. It appears he has not been told that the "macedonian language" was first recognized by the ministers of ERE in the 50's and then officially delivered by New Democracy in 1977.
Mr. Mitsotakis insists with his known irresponsibility to talk about the "Cham Issue", which the Greek government today rejects as an issue of negotiations.
Finally, Mr. Mitsotakis 'remembered' the extortion that took place at the meeting of the National Council on Foreign Policy, in the form of "you either do as I say, or else...". An extortionary tactic that was rejected by every other party when I put forward New Democracy's "proposal". He should therefore note the following: New Democracy's premeditated extortion was rejected by the National Council on Foreign Policy.