After Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias came under fire in Parliament late on Friday following the leak of a confidential letter asking opposition parties, including the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, to express their positions on the dispute over the official name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a ministry official played down the matter.
In a response to journalists’ questions, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Constantinos Koutras said Kotzias had sought the views of party officials during a “confidential” meeting of the National Council on Foreign Policy in July and had followed up with a letter.
“Kotzias asked the representatives of the parties in attendance to send their views regarding the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Given that, as of today, there had been no response… he sent a relevant letter to all of the parties, making the reminder that their responses on this issue are pending,” Koutras said.
The statement came after Kotzias faced the wrath of opposition MPs following a reference to the confidential letter in Parliament by Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos.
PASOK MP Andreas Loverdos described Kotzias’s decision to send a letter to all opposition parties, including GD whose MPs are on criminal trial, as “strange and extremely dangerous.”
New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis accused Kotzias of leaking the letter himself.
Kotzias, for his part, lashed out at his critics for openly discussing a confidential affair.