The fYROMacedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced an agreement between Greece and fYROMacedonia on the name issue during the day (Tuesday, June 12), in a Monday evening televised interview of his with a TV station in Skopje after yesterday’s telephone conversation which he had with the Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras.
“What we need to do more is speak tomorrow (he mean on Tuesday, June 12) with the hope that we can make the decisive step. You know that I was optimistic that a solution could be found. What I can only tell you is that my optimism will probably come true. But the final step will be taken when everything is finalised. I hope this will happen tomorrow”, Zoran Zaev said in an interview with TELMA private TV station in Skopje.
According to IBNA, if a name agreement is reached today, a meeting of prime ministers of the two sides will be held in Prespes at the end of the week, where the agreement will be signed.
The fYROMacedonian premier also announced a referendum in his country, in case of an agreement on the name issue, which he said would probably take place at the end of September or early October.
Asked about the possibility that Skopje will not get the date for accession negotiations with the EU even if the name issue is resolved, because of the objections expressed by some countries (France, the Netherlands, Denmark, etc.), Zaev said that there is an open debate on enlargement issues within the EU and that no one can predict what the EU member states will decide at the Summit on June 28-29.
However, he expressed the conviction that the resolution of the name issue would have a reflection and would be taken into account by those countries that have objected. He added that if Skopje actually behave in a”European” way in resolving disputes with neighbouring countries, this will minimise the chances of a negative outcome at the debate in the European Council.
The fYROMacedonian Prime Minister was confident that the agreement will strengthen the identity of the country’s citizens and make it equal to the others. He stressed that everyone should understand that his country’s progress towards the EU and NATO cannot be achieved without resolving the name issue.
Zoran Zaev also regretted that the proposal for “Republika Ilidenska Makedonija” did not go ahead and stressed that the Greek Prime Minister is trying hard and sincerely wants to solve the name problem, because this will be good for Greece and the Greeks citizens.
Asked about the way he will persuade the country’s President, Gjorge Ivanov and the main opposition party VMRO-DPMNE to support the deal, given their position on an erga omnes solution, Zaev said the final vote would be refereed by citizens, who will understand that it is a fair deal based on data, preserves their dignity and identity and opens up prospects for the country. Addressing President Ivanov and the VMRO-DPMNE, Zoran Zaev pointed out that if they are in favour of the country’s EU and NATO membership, they should be ready for a solution.
Asked about how possible it would be that President Ivanov will put forward procedural obstacles to the ratification of the agreement to resolve the name issue, the fYROMacedonian PM expressed his conviction that Ivanov would not take any action that would cause problems to the country’s accession process towards NATO and the EU.
To the question of would happen if the solution did not go through the referendum, Zaev said that, in this case, disappointment, nationalism and extreme views will return to the country, as happened in 2008 after the NATO Bucharest Summit, when the disappointment that prevailed created the conditions for Nikola Gruevski’s regime to gain power.
“I do not even want to think about what will happen if the referendum fails”, Zaev said and reiterated that Skopje has only prospects within NATO and the EU.
Asked whether there are guarantees that Greece will implement what will be agreed, Zaev said there are guarantees to be included in the deal. He underlined that Greece could become a strategic partner to help his country move towards the EU and NATO.
Finally, he pointed out that if today’s telephone conversation with the Greek Prime Minister reaches an agreement, then he will postpone his visit to Frankfurt, scheduled for June 13 and 14, where he is going to have meetings with Germany’s economy people…. / IBNA