FYROM name talks gaining momentum as protests planned

FYROM name talks gaining momentum as protests planned

A series of rallies are being planned in several cities across Greece on Wednesday, June 6, to protest ongoing name talks with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which have entered a crucial stretch.

A group calling itself the “Committee for the Struggle of Macedonia’s Greekness” issued an announcement saying that it is rallying support for the mass gatherings, which will be coordinated to start at 7.30 p.m.

The aim, the committee said, is to “remind” the government that the “Greek people have made their decision.” That decision, it added, is to reject any solution that contains the term “Macedonia,” which would be seen as expressing irredentist ambitions over the northern Greek region of the same name.

The warning of a public backlash to what is the most likely scenario to emerge from ongoing United Nations-mediated talks, comes as Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias engages in high-level talks to build on the momentum of a positive meeting earlier this month between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his counterpart from Skopje, Zoran Zaev.

After meetings with officials in Washington and FYROM’s foreign minister, Nikola Dimitrov, in New York last week, Kotzias is now in Brussels, where he is due to attend Monday’s EU Foreign Affairs Council.

He will then be traveling to Berlin on Monday to meet with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier – with whom Kotzias has had particularly friendly relations since the latter’s stint at the German Foreign Ministry – and, on Tuesday, with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas.

Later this month, moreover, the Greek foreign minister is due to travel to Moscow but also to welcome his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Athens.

Athens and Skopje are both aiming said to be for an agreement before a European Union summit on June 28. 

In comments to Greece's ANA-MPA news agency in Brussels on Monday, Dimitriv said he is confident that talks are in the final stretch.

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