Athens awaits next move by Skopje

FM says Greece’s course of action depends on North Macedonia government’s stance on Prespa

Athens awaits next move by Skopje

Athens will wait for the government of North Macedonia to be sworn in before deciding on the course of action it will take if Skopje insists on not abiding by the Prespa Agreement, Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis stressed on Monday.

“Greece is strictly monitoring the observance of the agreements. The government of North Macedonia has not yet been sworn in, so we will await developments,” he stated, following a meeting with his visiting Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.

He added that for the time being “there is no intention to activate any infringement procedure.”

“These issues will be assessed by the Greek diplomacy, as well as, of course, by the EU in the context of the accession process of North Macedonia,” Gerapetritis noted.

Earlier, he told talk radio 98.9 that the Prespa Agreement “is an international treaty, which has been ratified, is not amended or revised unilaterally by the parties.”

Moreover, he described it as “a very, very basic node on which the international position of North Macedonia was built” and that therefore it goes without saying that the EU is “assessing the issues of the Prespa Agreement and its full and consistent implementation.”

The political leadership of North Macedonia, he stressed, “will assess these issues and comply with the requirements of the Prespa Agreement.”

Gerapetritis also underlined the Greek government’s firm line on the need to adhere to an agreement that ruling New Democracy (ND) had opposed.

“We must adhere to what was agreed, not because we agree with it, but because it is a condition for continuity and stability, which was created as it was created. And in any case, we cannot formulate a unilateral framework on which to build political careers,” he noted.

His statement came a day after the disappointment of the US expressed by Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Allen, who was in Skopje on Sunday.

“We support the Prespa Agreement, and we were disappointed to see that the president did not use the full and official name North Macedonia,” she said, referring to North Macedonia’s new president, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova.

“The US is in constant dialogue with the new government and hopes that the new leadership of North Macedonia will abide by the international agreements,” Allen said.

Her statements were seen to vindicate the Greek government’s position not to proceed with immediate ratification of the three memoranda of understanding with North Macedonia that were included in the Prespa Agreement, as opposition SYRIZA has demanded.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has repeatedly said that the memoranda will not be ratified unless the government is convinced that Skopje will comply with the Prespa Agreement. 

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