ND chief slams gov’t over handling of FYROM name talks


New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday slammed the leftist-led administration over its handling of name talks with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), saying that it entered negotiations without “forming a unified government position.”

The government’s prevarication is “intentional” and aimed at “facilitating Mr. Kammenos, who changes his mind about six times a day,” the conservative opposition leader said in reference to the head of the government’s junior coalition partner and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos.

Mitsotakis was speaking to a meeting of New Democracy’s political council in Athens when he said that if he had been in charge of negotiations with Skopje he would make sure to brief all political leaders on the government’s positions and developments.

He also added that he would start the talks on the “issues of irredentism,” as Athens accuses FYROM of harboring claims against the northern Greek region of Macedonia.

“I would wait for tangible signs of the other side’s position before moving on to the next phase,” Mitsotakis said, echoing concerns that while Skopje has verbally supported the need for a mutually acceptable compromise with Athens, this conciliatory spirit has yet to be seen in practice.

“I would ask for nothing unless Skopje first made a commitment to change its constitution,” the conservative leader added, referring to concerns that certain clauses of FYROM’s constitution suggest irredentist aims.