Ahead of Thursday's resumption of talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on the decades-old name dispute, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Wednesday that compromises and “realism” are prerequisites for a deal.
“The key to solving the name issue is realism, pragmatism and the idea that we must make compromises, not fake [compromises], but compromises that will benefit both sides,” Kotzias said during a joint press briefing with his Serbian counterpart, and first deputy prime minister, Ivica Dacic, in Belgrade.
“Compromise means that both sides have to realize that they cannot have it all and that both sides must have gains. I hope that this has been understood by all sides in this negotiation and that we will see positive developments,” he added before Thursday’s talks in Ohrid with his counterpart Nikola Dimitrov.
In Athens, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told 24/7 radio on Wednesday that the government remains optimistic but said more must be done before a deal can be clinched.
“We have the political conditions and will for a solution, however a significant amount of ground must still be covered in the negotiations,” he said, adding that that the Greek government has proposed a specific framework that will make a deal possible.
Tzanakopoulos dismissed speculation that the coalition’s cohesion could be jeopardized by a possible rejection of a compromise deal by the junior partner, Independent Greeks (ANEL).
Leading officials of the nationalist party as well as its leader, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, have repeatedly stated that they will not accept any solution that will allow FYROM to use the term “Macedonia” in its name.
According to reports on Tuesday, United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz has sent Kotzias and Dimitrov a letter outlining the parameters of a solution.
During his visit to Belgrade, Kotzias also met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and discussed regional cooperation. He stressed that Greece supports Serbia’s EU aspirations.