Old foreign ministry documents to stoke debate before Parl’t vote

Old foreign ministry documents to stoke debate before Parl’t vote

A parliamentary debate on a no-confidence motion against the government, lodged by conservative New Democracy, is likely to become even more acrimonious on Saturday as Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is expected to submit documents revealing how previous governments handled the Macedonia name talks over the years. 

Ahead of a vote on the no-confidence motion scheduled for later in the day, Kotzias is expected to submit around 30 recently declassified ministry documents in a bid to deflect criticism by ND over the government’s negotiating tactics that yielded the Macedonia name deal earlier this week. 

Sources said that the documents shed light on the choices of previous governments regarding composite names and the issue of changes to the constitution of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 

Commenting on Friday, prominent conservative MP Dora Bakoyannis, a former foreign minister involved in talks on the Macedonia name issue, accused Kotzias of having a “Stasi logic.” “I challenge you, then, submit everything to the minutes of Parliament. Everything though,” Bakoyannis told the House Friday. “And while you’re at it, submit the files of your own discussions, minister,” she said. “Unless you have something to hide.” 

News of Kotzias’s plans to submit the ministry documents to Parliament cast Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s reaction to ND’s motion of no confidence in a new light. Responding to the move by ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday, Tsipras had said, “We will talk about everything and everyone.”

“You will not get off lightly the next couple of days.” “We will talk, with names and addresses, about who gave up what and when… about who once was ready to concede the name Macedonia for domestic use.”

Tsipras and Mitsotakis are expected to clash again in Parliament on Saturday night ahead of the vote on the no-confidence motion.

Tsipras is expected to emerge unscathed from the vote as his coalition partner, Independent Greeks, has pledged to support him, even though it opposes the Macedonia deal. It was largely to highlight the government’s split position on the deal that spurred ND to lodge the motion.

Meanwhile preparations were under way to prepare for a signing ceremony for the deal on Sunday in Prespes, a lake district on the borders of Greece, FYROM and Albania.

The signing, to be done by Kotzias and his counterpart Nikola Dimitrov in the presence of the premiers of the two countries, is to take place on the Greek side while a subsequent lunch will be held on the FYROM side.

Apparently for security reasons, Greek officials did not reveal details of the time or exact location of the signing ceremony, which is expected to be attended by foreign officials including European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

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