Following the scheduled meeting between Greece and FYROM’s foreign ministers on Thursday, both Nikos Kotzias and his counterpart Nikola Dimitrov claimed progress continues to be made despite some differences still outstanding.
The two ministers made the claim during a joint press statement but declined to take questions from the media.
“As you see, the closer we come and the more issues we resolve, there are even fewer issues left to discuss but they are also the most difficult. We took the steps that we could today, positive steps, and always hope that we will be able to take the big and more difficult steps, to make them easy,” Kotzias said.
From his part FYROM’s Dimitrov described the talks as “sincere” and “with great understanding of the needs of the other,” while noting that they had also included a discussion on the time framework and the steps that will be taken if agreement is reached for the first time.
“Our main aim in the talks is how to bring about the desired solution,” he said.
Working groups from both Greece and FYROM prepared an agreed blueprint which will form the basis of future cooperation in a number of areas, based on the progress made in Vienna, including the issue of avoiding irredentism on the two sides.
The Greek government’s claim to progress on the name issue however did not appease New Democracy leader Kyriakos MItsotakis who accused the Greek Prime Minister on Thursday of not clarifying his position on the proposed name for FYROM.
Mitsotakis reiterated that if an agreement between Greece and FYROM is tabled in Parliament without obliging FYROM to amend its constitution so it removes any sense of irredentism, his party will object to it.