Greek, FYROM ministers agree to boost trust

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his counterpart in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Nikola Poposki, on Wednesday agreed on a list of 11 confidence-building measures (CBMs) aimed at boosting bilateral ties at critical moments for both countries.

In his visit to Skopje, the first by a Greek foreign minister in 11 years, Kotzias underlined the need to build trust and develop relations that could pave the way for the two countries to resolve a longstanding disagreement regarding FYROM’s official name.

“I believe that we have the capability to talk about and resolve the name issue, based on international law and good-neighborly relations,” Kotzias said after talks with Poposki, adding that he was keen to jointly explore and promote cooperation in trade, culture, investments and the education sector. “We have to creatively stabilize the relations between us,” Kotzias added. “We are neighbors with friendly peoples. This is the point of the CBMs: not just trust, but also to intensify our relations and make them more consolidated.”

Poposki struck a similar note, heralding “a new step for a mutually active approach and for cooperation on practical issues.” “The weakest link in the past decades in our bilateral relations has been the lack of trust,” Poposki said, adding that the “strongest link has always been the readiness of our citizens, businesses and societies to connect and cooperate with each other.”