by Aggelos Skordas
Despite Athens ruling out the name “Republic of Ilinden Macedonia” as an agreed term on the naming dispute with neighboring FYROM, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said on Monday that the proposal is still in play. According to state-run MIA, Zaev told reporters that his country “has not dismissed the ‘Republic of Ilinden Macedonia’ proposal” and that it is worth careful consideration, as it fulfills the expectations of most citizens in both countries.
“Republic of Ilinden Macedonia is a name that does not threaten Macedonian identity -on the contrary, it strengthens it- while giving Greece a compound name with a chronological identifier”, the Premier of FYROM explained.
At the same time, the Greek opposition parties have unanimously rejected a possible agreement under the name “Republic of Ilinden Macedonia”, while disagreement has also been expressed by several ruling SYRIZA and Independent Greeks (ANEL) MPs. Main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has characterised the name as “unacceptable” as it reveals irredentist claims over Greek territory. Movement For Change, To Potami and the Greek Communists Party (KKE) have also rejected the proposal, which was reportedly made on Friday by Zaev to his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras during their meeting in Sofia.
After the firm reactions, the Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said the solution should be found among the names proposed by the United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz: “Several proposals have been submitted, but the Greek side insists that the best solution is a name from among those proposed by Matthew Nimetz. Of course, we are discussing the proposals of our neighbours, but negotiations are held in a specific context and it is good to stick to it.”
But even a few hours following Tsipras-Zaev meeting the Greek Premier’s office issued the following announcement which is ruling out a possible agreement under a different name: “Greece will continue working with FYROM to find a commonly accepted compound name with geographical or time designation and against all (erga omnes).”
The names proposed by Nimetz and which remain on the table of negotiations between Greece and FYROM are the following five:
Republika Nova Makedonija (Republic of New Macedonia),
Republika Severna Makedonija (Republic of Northern Macedonia),
Republika Gorna Makedonija (Republic of Upper Macedonia),
Republika Vardarska Makedonija (Republic of Macedonia of Vardar) and
Republika Makedonija (Skopje) [Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)]