NEWS

Athens reacts after FYROM deputy speaker pictured in front of irredentist map

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Greece’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday slammed the deputy speaker of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s parliament after he made a speech in Canada while standing in front of a map showing “United Macedonia” extending into Greek territory.

Antonio Milososki, a former foreign minister, spoke on August 2 at an event in Ontario organized by the nationalist group United Macedonians. The presence of a map showing the neighboring country’s borders extending all the way down to Mount Olympus in central Greece drew condemnation from the Foreign Ministry in Athens, which suggested that Milososki’s behavior was outdated.

“The expiry date of by-products of Skopjan irredentism is long past,” read a tweet from the ministry’s official account that was shared by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias. “Their use and mindless consumption has dangerous side effects.”

Kotzias has recently been working on establishing confidence-building measures with FYROM aimed at resolving the name dispute between Athens and Skopje.

Milososki courted controversy last year when he published a picture of himself and members of a group of climbers from FYROM holding a flag bearing the Vergina Sun taken on Mount Olympus’s highest peak, Mytikas.

FYROM used the Vergina Sun, a symbol discovered at the tomb of Philip II at the archaeological site of Aigai (modern-day Vergina in northern Greece), on its national flag between 1991 and 1995 but agreed under the terms of the 1995 interim accord with Greece to stop doing so.

The Greek government described Milososki’s actions as a “provocation.” The Vergina Sun was designated a Greek national symbol by the country’s Parliament in 1993. There was also a large flag bearing the symbol behind Milososki when he spoke in Ontario on Sunday.