The president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Gjorge Ivanov, on Friday urged lawmakers to reject the name agreement with Greece, claiming it will “erase” his country’s national identity.
Under the accord, also known as the Prespes agreement, FYROM must amend its constitution and change its name to North Macedonia in return for being allowed to join NATO.
Ivanov, a staunch opponent of the deal, said his country pay “the highest price” for it.
Meanwhile, the vice president of the Independent Greeks (ANEL) party, Panayiotis Sgouridis, submitted his resignation on Friday after sparking controversy in an interview with an Athens radio station in which he claimed that the deal’s ratification by the Greek Parliament could be delayed due to a potential clash with neighboring Turkey.
However, his resignation was reportedly not accepted the leader of the junior coalition party, Panos Kammenos. According to Skai TV, he sent his decision to Kammenos via SMS.
Kammenos, who is also defense minister, had earlier described Sgouridis’s comments as “fantasy theories,” insisting that Greece is the most secure country in the region which respects international law and the rules of good-neighborly relations.
New Democracy denounced Sgouridis’s remarks, with shadow foreign minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos saying it is “inconceivable” to link the name deal’s fate to a potential clash with Turkey. He added that the remarks “expose Greece internationally, as they raise reasonable questions about the way the government is handling the vital interests of the country.”