Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias met with the Foreign Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Nikola Poposki, within the framework of Friday’s informal ‘Gynmich’ Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers, in which the Foreign Ministers of countries that are candidates for accession to the EU also participated.
During the meeting, the two foreign ministers discussed European and regional affairs and briefed each other on recent developments in the two countries.
The meeting took place the day after nationalists stormed FYROM’s parliament and violently attacked legislators injuring over 70 people including the leader of the opposition.
The incident has sparked concern for Greece and the region, given the political crisis has been brewing for many years over ethnic tensions with the local Albanian population in FYROM.
FYROM has been in the grip of a political stalemate since December as ethnic Slav nationalists object to the formation of a new government by Social Democrats and parties representing ethnic Albanians.
Athens, which has been locked in a name dispute with FYROM since the 1990s, has opted to keep its distance, wary that nationalists in the neighbouring country will want to exploit any comments coming out of Greece.
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee visited the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and urged for an end the political stalemate and allow the formation of a new government.
With regard to Albania and the claims of Cham community vis-a-vis Greece, Athens’s concerns are somewhat alleviated by the moderate stance of new Albanian President Ilir Meta who has helped establish channels of communication with the Greek government after the more hostile stance of Prime Minister Edi Rama.