Residents of Greece's northern neighbour are not content with using the name "North Macedonia" and are trying to create a backdoor to force Greece to accept calling them "Macedonia."
Skopje's unprecedented claim was made during negotiations between the two countries' defence ministries for the drafting of the Military Cooperation Program for the year 2020.
"As for the signing and implementation of the 2020 Military Cooperation Program (SFP) with North Macedonia, the Official Association of Skopje stated the sudden change in attitude of this country and specifically that it seeks to use the acronym MKD [Macedonia] instead of RNM [Republic of North Macedonia]," a confidential document of the Greek military, which was published by Proto Thema, revealed.
"In Action Plan 2019 with North Macedonia, which was signed against PSS 2019, as well as in all relevant actions, the abbreviation RNM was used with the consent of that country," the Greek military document reads.
As seen in the note, which is classified as confidential, the view of the General Staff of the National Defence is "not to sign the PSS 2020 with the abbreviation MKD" and "to seek the use of the names of the countries in full (Greece - Republic of North Macedonia or North Macedonia) in order to overcome the issue of abbreviations and to sign the PSS 2020 Greece-Northern Macedonia as soon as possible and to implement its actions."
Dimitris Giannakakis, Greece's ambassador to Skopje, in a telegram dated June 19, 2020, which was classified as confidential and urgent, emphasises that the text of the Military Cooperation Program has been a product of negotiations for almost a year and it had been accepted by the Greek military, which had instructed him to sign it."
Informing the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Defence about the demands of Greece's northern neighbour, Ambassador Giannakakis notes that the Skopje interlocutors to the Greek officer who handled the negotiations for the finalisation of the Program of Important Military Replacement and Technical Cooperation said something "orally that they want MKD. He then received an email requesting a change, without further ado."
Below is the email from the Ministry of Defence of Skopje, which asked to change the abbreviation of the name of the neighbouring country for the Military Cooperation Program with Greece for the year 2020 to MKD.
Responding to the people of Skopje, the following defence of the Greek embassy in Skopje asked for time to inform the Greek military about the demands and to receive instructions.
In a confidential and urgent telegram to the Foreign Ministry's central office, the Greek ambassador to Skopje stressed that Europeans do not share Greek arguments for the need to use the RNM abbreviation. "At least our EU interlocutors here understand that the original RNMs are widely used in the context of public administration. However, they accept the argument here that the initials MK and MKD are provided for in Article 1.3 (e) of the Prespa Agreement for all cases and do not favour our argument that the abbreviations used for Northern Macedonia in the context of the EU and NATO. They need a different regulation," noted Ambassador Giannakakis.
A document from Dimitris Giannakakis, Greece's ambassador to Skopje, claims that their country is referred to as MKD in many instances.
"The country codes for the car plates of the second part (Skopje) shall be NM and NMK. For all other purposes, country codes remain MK and MKD, as officially rendered by the International Organization for Standardization (ILO)," the document said.