Greece’s Prime Minister and his FYROM counterpart presented a united front following their meeting on Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos reassuring their mutual goodwill in resolving the name dispute.
During their joint press conference the Greek PM said their efforts sought to bring to the forefront ‘the things that unite our people and find a solution to those that divide us’’.
“We need to promote an agenda of cooperation and joint development in order for the Balkan region to go forward and meet the challenges of the 21st century,” said Alexis Tsipras.
The Greek PM underlined that the relations of the two countries must rest upon a firm foundation of mutual respect and good neighbourliness, noting that this meant more than just solving the name issue:
“It means that we must first tackle irredentism in all its forms and with guarantees that we will leave no window open that might allow similar provocations to be created anew in the future”.
Tsipras made it clear that the two countries must agree on a compound name for use in relations to everyone (erga omnes). Tsipras also announced an agreement with Zaev to intensify, under their supervison, the negotiations being carried out under UN auspices.
From his part FYROM’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that both men feel a sense of responsibility to resolve the 25-year-old name dispute which has affected relations between the two countries, noting that this will open the way for FYROM’s entry to NATO and the EU.
Zaev noted that the final solution to the name dispute must be one that is acceptable to both parties and takes into account the national dignity of both peoples.
“We want to be partners in the EU and NATO allies to tackle the full framework of difficulties,” he said, adding that resolving the name dispute is crucial for the country’s NATO and EU ambitions.