Athens, December 18, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
In a positive atmosphere took place the first visit after many years of a Foreign Minister from FYROM to Greece. The private meeting of the two ministers, which lasted over an hour and a half, took place in a climate of honesty and mutual confidence, as was highlighted by circles of the two delegations.
Nikos Kotzias and Nikola Poposki spoke of trust steps in the Greece-FYROM relations during their meeting in Athens yesterday, promising that the path of the two-way visits will continue, and stressed that although the name issue remains open, it won’t be a point of tension in the future.
Although the name issue remains to be resolved under the auspices of the UN, both sides confirmed the common will not let this matter be an obstacle to the good cooperation between the two countries in many areas, cultivating and strengthening the climate of trust in their bilateral relations.
The progress on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and the expansion of cooperation initiatives in more sectors, including the energy sector with the connection of FYROM to the energy system of Greece, is, as was pointed a step to this direction, marking the way for the future.
As Nikos Kotzias stressed:
We want good cooperation between the two countries, to isolate the extreme nationalism and irredentism voices, do not become inactive and to capitalize on the discussions at the UN to resolve the name issue. We seek an honest compromise.
Kotzias also referred to the intention of Greece for the cooperation of both countries in the refugee problem created by Islamic extremism and the war, which makes it universal.
At the same time Poposki referred to the cooperation between Greece and the FYROM on the name issue:
FYROM has as a strategy to have good relations with Greece and this is the direction in which we must move. The CBM may be symbolic, but they are important in many areas.
At the same time he stressed that a cooperation with Greece would be very beneficial on the accession process of the country.
Regarding the name issue, Poposki said that “the two countries’ positions are known; the obstacles must be overcome in order to reach a solution”, stressing that “no one benefits from the creation of false expectations” as the differences between the two sides exist.
“We have a political duty not to agree to any solution. The solution should not threaten our constitution and our constitutional characteristics”, Poposki said, while he made a reference to the possibility of a referendum.
On the refugee issue and the border fence, responding to a reporter’s question, Poposki said that it is in the interest of both countries to cooperate on this issue, and referred to the difficulty of his country, of 2 million inhabitants, to address the large number of refugees.
“That’s why we have placed obstacles, in order to avoid any illegal crossing”, he said, adding that when there will be a good registration system then we will not be forced to place obstacles.
We do not want to have fences between the two countries. The border fence can’t remain in the long term.”. On the other hand he stressed the importance of the EU contribution, mentioning that there are some positive signs of the on the spot cooperation, and expressed his hope that it would continue.