NEWS

Greek chief negotiator in ‘Macedonia’ naming dispute dies

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Greek diplomat Adamantios Vassilakis, who served as the country’s chief negotiator in the UN-sponsored talks over the name of North Macedonia, has died at 79.

Born on June 13, 1942 in Chios, Vassilakis joined the Diplomatic Service in 1972 and during his tenure served in key positions in the European Union and the United Nations.

In the years 2002-2007 he was Greece’s permanent representative to the United Nations, while from 2005 to 2006 he represented Greece in the UN Security Council.

From 2007, he represented Greece in the 27-year-old dispute with North Macedonia, mediated by Matthew Nimetz, the American diplomat who served as the United Nations Special Representative for the naming dispute between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia — as the country was called then.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs mourns the loss of Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, an excellent diplomat who honored his homeland and was a model and source of inspiration for all those who were lucky enough to meet him,” the ministry said in a statement. 

“He served Greece with honesty, dignity and faith in duty,” the ministry continued, with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Vassilakis’ former colleagues expressing their “heartfelt condolences” to his family and relatives.

The name dispute ended with the Prespa agreement, which was signed on 17 June 2018 in a high-level ceremony at the Greek border village of Psarades on Lake Prespa, by the then-foreign ministers Nikos Kotzias and Nikola Dimitrov, in the presence of the respective Prime Ministers, Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev.